Do you feel down and gloomy in the winter evenings? Is it difficult for you to get out of your bed in the cold mornings of January? Do you think your depressing condition is somehow related to winters? For your information, let me tell you seasonal depression is a real thing! And you are one of those individuals who suffer from this condition when the cold winter breeze arrives.
Seasonal depression, seasonal affective disorder, or winter blues are names for a similar condition with multiple symptoms like depression. Some of the common symptoms of seasonal depression are energy loss, lack of appetite, tendency to oversleep, difficulty concentrating, and irritability. It occurs at the same time every year.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that is triggered by a change in the seasons, usually when autumn begins. This SAD worsens in the winter and then subsides in the spring. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the seasonal affective disorder affects between 4% and 6% of the population.
Some people suffer from a rare form of the seasonal affective disorder known as “summer depression.” It begins at end of spring or early summer and lasts until the fall.
SAD is more common among women and younger people. You’re also more likely to develop seasonal depression if you have other mood disorders such as major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder or if you have relatives who suffer from other mental illnesses, such as depression or schizophrenia.
Living in high latitudes (north of the equator), such as Alaska or New England, in cloudy areas can also be the reason behind this condition.
The seasonal affective disorder can coexist with other mental illnesses such as anxiety disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), eating disorder, and anxiety disorder.
What Are The Symptoms Of Seasonal Depression?
Seasonal depression is a subtype of depression, not a distinct mental disorder. As a result, people suffering from the seasonal affective disorder may exhibit signs of depression, such as:
- Loss of interest in routine activities, including withdrawal from social activities
- Cravings for carbohydrates and weight gain
- The limbs are heavy.
- Sleeping more.
- Extreme exhaustion and a lack of energy.
- Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
- Unable to concentrate.
- Suicidal or death-related thoughts
What Are The Causes Of Seasonal Depression?
Researchers aren’t sure what causes seasonal depression. A lack of sunlight may trigger people who are predisposed to the condition. According to the theories:
Imbalance Of Chemicals In Brain:
Neurotransmitters, which are chemicals in the brain, communicate between nerves. Serotonin, which contributes to feelings of happiness, is one of these chemicals. So, people who are predisposed to SAD may already have lower serotonin activity. Because sunlight helps regulate serotonin, a lack of sun can exacerbate the situation in the winter. Serotonin levels can drop even further, causing mood swings.
Biological clock Shift:
When people are exposed to less sunlight, their biological clock changes, this internal clock is in charge of regulating mood, sleep, and hormones. People may have difficulty managing their emotions when it changes.
Vitamin D deficiency:
Vitamin D also boosts serotonin levels. Because sunlight aids in vitamin D production, a lack of sunlight during the winter can result in a vitamin D deficiency. This alteration can have an impact on serotonin and mood.
Boost Of Melatonin:
Melatonin is a chemical that influences sleep patterns. A lack of sunlight may cause an overproduction of melatonin in some people. During the winter, they may feel sluggish and sleepy.
People suffering from SAD frequently experience stress, anxiety, and negative thoughts about the winter. Researchers are unsure whether these negative thoughts are a cause or a result of seasonal depression.
How To Treat Seasonal Depression?
Although the causes of the seasonal affective disorder are unknown, the treatment is simple: more light during the winter months. People with seasonal depression may benefit from antidepressant medications in severe cases.
Seasonal Depression And Sunlight:
30 minutes of exercise in the morning sunlight helps overcome the winter blues. Phototherapy is another treatment option. Using a unique lamp, bright light therapy can treat seasonal depression.
Getting some sunlight boosts your serotonin levels and helps you avoid Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It can also help people with anxiety and depression, especially when combined with other treatments.
What is seasonal depression?
Seasonal depression is a type of depression that is triggered by a change in the seasons, usually when autumn begins. This SAD worsens in the winter and then subsides in the spring.
Is my depression related to winter?
Yes, seasons like autumn and winter can cause a depression that is known as seasonal depression.
Can sunlight treat my seasonal depression?
Yes, sunlight helps in boosting the amount of serotonin and treating seasonal depression.
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