Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Around 29% of Britons will be affected this winter by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Sometimes referred to as ‘Winter Depression’ it’s reported that the symptoms of SAD can raise to around 40% in women often lasting through December and on into January and February.

Symptoms that may present themselves include*:

  • a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities
  • irritability
  • feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
  • feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day
  • sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning
  • craving carbohydrates and gaining weight

*NHS 2015

These symptoms can become severe and often impair day-to-day activities exacerbating or leading to feelings of anxiety and stress and affecting not only ourselves but those around us. Add to this the cold, money worries and loneliness that can also be associated with the Christmas season and we are able to paint a very bleak picture. You are not alone though and comprehension and with the right tools and support we can make a positive difference to these feelings and behaviours.

What causes Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Whilst the exact causes of SAD being researched it’s commonly held that reduced exposure to sunlight during the shorter autumn and winter days is one of the main contributors. This in turn affects the brain and in particular the hypothalamus.

This leads the hypothalamus to increase the production of melatonin. There’s a decrease in our normal levels of serotonin and the change in light can also have a negative effect circadian rhythms.

Melatonin (Hormone) – An increase in melatonin can lead us to become lethargic and sleepy.

Serotonin (Hormone) – Affects sleep cycles, mood, appetite as well as playing an important role in how we deal with anxiety and stress.

Circadian Rhythms (Internal body clock) – SAD may also disrupt our sleeping patterns or make it difficult to get up at our usual time.


If you think you may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, you should visit your GP. They can give you further information and a thorough diagnosis. There may also be treatments such as SSRI’s that your GP can recommend.

You can also increase your levels of serotonin through ‘The Three Ps’ – Positive Activity, Positive Interaction and Positive Thoughts. You should get as much natural light as possible, you could use of a lightbox to help your sleep pattern and you can help further by reducing your stress levels through the use of talking therapies such as CBT, counselling or my personal favourite Solution Focused Hypnotherapy.

How can Solution Focused Hypnotherapy Help?

We use the latest developments in neuroscience, CBT and Brief Therapy in combination with trance to help positively intervene and focus on your desired outcome.

With commitment from the yourself – we work together to build on your resources and give you the tools and support you need. Giving you the ability to cope better and create more of that all-important serotonin in a natural and relaxing way.

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy does not regress clients, ask you to give any information that you’re not happy disclosing and does not use any stage theatrics. It’s a safe and complementary way of helping you recognise that you have the resources and inner strength to deal with difficulties in a calm and relaxed way.’s recommended Lightboxes and buyers guide – HERE

Stats – YouGov / The Independent

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Ben Gaskell MA HPD SFH SUP DSFH MNCH (Reg.) CNHC-Reg is a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist working with clients who suffer from anxiety, stress, low mood and phobias. Based in both Deansgate, Central Manchester and the Stretford area of Greater Manchester he serves the local and surrounding areas of Urmston, Didsbury, Sale, Chorlton, Hale, Altrincham and Trafford. Further details can be found on ‘getting here’ or my ‘contact’ page. For more information on how Ben at Greater Manchester Hypnotherapy can help you please call 07756 932 702 or email


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A bit more information

Ben Gaskell is a Clinical Hypnotherapist working with clients who suffer from anxiety, stress, low mood and phobias. He practices from Stretford and Deansgate, Manchester and serves the areas of:


Altrincham, Stockport, Trafford, Urmston, Didsbury, Sale, Chorlton.


Deansgate, Northern Quarter, Spinning fields.

Further details can be found on the ‘getting here’ or ‘contact’ page. For more information on how Ben at Greater Manchester Hypnotherapy can help you please call 07756 932 702 or email

ONLINE SESSIONS ONLY, whilst we move to a new location!