Business Advice: Employees Suffering with SAD

Could your employees be suffering with seasonal affective disorder?

by Dr Leigh A Neal, Consultant Psychiatrist and Medical Director at Smart TMS

In Business Advice, co-founder of mental health clinic Smart TMS, Dr Leigh Neal, explained the effects of seasonal affective disorder and the impact it could have in the workplace when staff are affected.

Dr Neal explains what SAD is:

business advice logo“Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is generally first experienced in October in the UK, and with around one in five people experiencing symptoms each year, there’s a real risk “the winter blues” could take effect in your small business.

“A few years ago, the term seasonal affective disorder became the latest in a line of health concerns to enter popular imagination and dialogue, partly due to its catchy acronym – SAD.”

He goes onto explain how seriously seasonal affective disorder can affect people’s wellbeing:

“Many people talk about seasonal affective disorder, or winter blues, referring to feelings of lethargy and depression that occur during winter months. But what is SAD and could it seriously be impacting your wellbeing?

“As the UK prepared to mark World Suicide Prevention Day in September, it’s worth taking a look at the seasonal depression that could be causing distress for thousands of UK workers.”

How common is SAD?

“SAD actually impacts one in five of us and usually sets in sometime around October, becoming most severe around January and February.

“The severity of symptoms differs from person to person. Only 3% of us will suffer with the most severe form of seasonal affective disorder.”

Symptoms of SAD

“Sufferers notice a significant reduction in energy levels during winter months and often feel less inclined to socialise. They may also experience a change in appetite and sleep patterns, irritability or feelings of despair.

“Symptoms can disappear altogether during spring and summer months, and then return again during the autumn.

“Confusingly, there is such a thing as reverse SAD, a version of seasonal affective disorder in which sufferers notice a worsening of symptoms during summer months. This variation is relatively rare.”

Form of Depression

“SAD is a form of depression. It is related to changes in season and exposure to sunlight. In the UK, we experience significant changes in the levels of daylight we are exposed to from winter to summer, making us particularly susceptible to seasonal affective disorder.

“The exact reasons why people suffer from SAD are still relatively unknown, although many people suggest that lack of sunlight exposure can impact our hormone levels, particularly melatonin and serotonin – the hormones that have a direct impact on our mood, appetite and sleep patterns.”

View Article in Full

Read the full article on the Business Advice website at: Business Advice: Could your employees be suffering with seasonal affective disorder?.

Dr Leigh A Neal

Dr Leigh NealDr Leigh A Neal is a consultant psychiatrist and Medical Director of  Smart TMS, a London-based clinic offering Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation – a non-medication-based mental health treatment.

He has been a Consultant Psychiatrist for over 20 years with a career including work within the Armed Forces, NHS and Independent Sector.

Smart TMS Clinics

Smart TMS is a specialist provider of TMS treatment, located at clinics in London, Birmingham and Dublin with expansion planned for Manchester and Bristol in 2018. Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy (rTMS) is a technological breakthrough in the treatment of depression with a variety of further potential treatment applications.


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