A lack of energy is often one of the first warning signs of seasonal affective disorder. For some individuals, low energy is their only symptom. The lack of direct sunlight in the winter can make it difficult for the brain to stay awake. Light therapy is used to help individuals wake up by mimicking the brightness of direct sunlight. However, light therapy boxes will not treat vitamin D deficiencies, which are also common contributors to seasonal affective disorder. Vitamin D deficiencies occur when patients do not get enough direct sunlight during the fall and winter.
Most patients with seasonal affective disorder begin to notice a lack of energy or unusual tiredness in the fall months. The fatigue becomes more severe as the days get shorter. Lack of energy is characteristic of all types of depression. The thing that sets seasonal affective disorder apart is that an affected person will only experience the lack of energy during certain times of the year. Unusual fatigue and tiredness is a reason to see a doctor, even if it is not caused by seasonal affective disorder.
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