SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER PART 3

FAQs



DOES EVERYONE EXPERIENCE SAD IN WINTER OR CAN IT BE AT ANY TIME OF YEAR?


Glad you asked. No. This type of depression does most commonly occur in the fall / winter months but recent studies point to the likelihood that one of the main factors (as we read about above) is more related to changes in seasons (circadian rhythm) and extreme or abrupt weather changes (likely due to global warming), rather than only winter related causes.


It is for sure a smaller percentage of people, but there are for sure many SAD sufferers who experience heightened symptoms in spring and summer.


DOES SAD AFFECT BOTH MEN AND WOMEN EQUALLY?


A recent article in the New York Times called “Building an Emotional Safety Net” (thank you to Rabbi Dr. Saul Haimoff for sending it our way) the author cites some pretty powerful sources about men’s mental health in general, but specifically since the pandemic hit. It is hard to give accurate numbers when it comes to which gender is more or less susceptible (if any) to SAD or any form of mental illness, for that matter, because men tend to be more reluctant to report their mental health struggles, let alone get help for them; “even though studies prove that avoiding “negative emotions” leads to symptoms of mood disorders, including depression.[1] What we may not know: Men, it turns out, suffer from anxiety and depression far more than we realize or like to believe.[2]


Stigmas within gender roles are thought to play a primary role in men’s susceptibility to “health-impeding behaviors” whereas women are more likely to “be engaged in health-promoting behaviors”[3] such as; building and engaging with support networks, open to vulnerability, getting professional help and remaining on top of self-care. These are all proactive measures that can help prevent symptoms from getting worse.


Unfortunately, even when men are proactive and try to get help, they are more likely to be misdiagnosed and therefore do not get the right follow-up care. “This difference has largely been attributed to the pervasive impact of masculine norms, which emphasize the importance of self-sufficiency, strength, and invulnerability.”[4]. I have a suspicion that men “who demonstrate male-typical symptoms of depression,” are not only less likely to get help, but even when they do, they will be less committed to the process because the vulnerability required is extremely foreign and out of our comfort zones. Men and women alike prefer familiarity to change, even if the familiar is maladaptive and dysfunctional.


So to sum up the answer, men and women are both susceptible to SAD but I cannot provide you with definitive statistics at this time. Stay tuned though. I’m sure that there will be big changes in store and more support out there for men than ever before.


We at Project Proactive are committed to making that happen and have big plans, together with our partners, to help break stigmas and normalize mental health support for men specifically in the coming months.


ALSO CHECK OUT: PART 1: WHAT CAUSES SAD?

PART 2: SYMPTOMS & PREVENTION

PART 3: FAQs

[1] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28703602/ [2] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/03/well/mind/men-emotional-support-networks.html [3] “Men, Suicide, and Covid-19: Critical Masculinity Analyses and Interventions”, Anisur Rahman Khan, Kopano Ratele & Najuwa Arendse, June 2020 / Garfield, Isacco, and Rogers 2008 [4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5734537/ (Addis & Mahalik, 2003; Evans, Frank, Oliffe, & Gregory, 2011; Pederson & Vogel, 2007)

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