If returning to work or school in September and shorter, colder days seem like a gloomy prospect, you’re not alone. Autumn can worsen anxiety and depression, experts say, so why does it affect us and can we beat the blues?

Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is thought to affect about one in 15 people in the UK between the months of September and April, according to the NHS.  For more serious sufferers, it can prevent people from functioning normally during the autumn and winter months and is thought to be caused by lack of light, as well as other factors such as colder temperatures and the return to normal routines.

With SAD, the lack of light is thought to affect the part of the brain that rules sleep and energy levels.  Even for people without the disorder, September can be a difficult time as school starts and workplaces get busier.  Added to this, the weather worsens, days get shorter, and it is a long wait until the next bank holiday over Christmas.

Many of us also are pining that the summer has gone because the summer for most people is a more relaxed period where there is much less traffic on the roads, we can leave for work that bit later and in general we feel a more relaxed kind of atmosphere around us as the rigid structured routine we normally have is not in place.

In a way people feel much more capable and resilient to be able to deal with things when the sun is shining as it has a positive impact on our moods.

When September comes around it seems to bring with it this feeling that it is a time to start to be more serious and with that comes increased levels of stress and anxiety.

But there are ways to help people overcome and gain control over SAD , if this is something you or a friend or family member would like help with please contact E-Therapy NI

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