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SAD- Seasonal Affective Disorder

It's normal to have some days when you feel down. But, if you feel down for days at a time and you can't get motivated to do activities you normally enjoy, it's time to ask for support. This is especially important if your sleep patterns and appetite have changed, you are turning to substances or alcohol for comfort or relaxation, or you feel hopeless or are experiencing suicidal ideation. Please, take signs and symptoms of seasonal affective disorder seriously. SAD can get worse and may lead to problems, such as social withdrawal, inability to function in day-to-day life, substance misuse, eating disorders, increased anxiety and suicidal thoughts and behaviors, if not treated.

Signs and symptoms of SAD may include:

* Having low energy and feeling sluggish

* Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed

* Feeling listless, sad or down most of the day, nearly every day

* Oversleeping

* Carb cravings, overeating, weight gain (Please note: this is very normal for Montana bears and other animals who hibernate. Human's do not hibernate, so this can be problematic.)

*Difficulty concentrating

*Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty

Please check with your primary care provider if you are experiencing any of these symptoms and be aware that Montanans are at high risk for SAD due to our proximity to the Northern Hemisphere. Most of us do not get enough natural sunlight to produce enough vitamin D, and this can affect our risk of developing SAD.

If you or someone you love are experiencing suicidal thoughts or ideation, please contact the Suicide Hotline at 9-8-8. A trained and caring professional is standing by to support you 24-7 and will be able to ensure you are given access to the help you need. Remember: You are NOT alone. You are needed. You are wanted. You matter. If you start to fall, we've got you! It's the Western way.


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