More Than Just the Winter Blues: What You Need to Know About Seasonal Depression
November 20, 2019
Often as we transition from season to another, people can find themselves experiencing symptoms like hopelessness, low energy, difficulty sleeping, etc. If you find yourself having these symptoms, then you could be suffering from seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, seasonal depression is a type of depression that comes and goes along with the season change. It typically starts in the late fall and early winter and goes away during the spring and summer. Depressive episodes linked to the summer can occur but are much less common than winter episodes.
What are the symptoms?
These symptoms have been linked to seasonal depression:
● Feeling depressed for most of the day, nearly every day
● Having low energy
● Difficulty sleeping
● Changes in weight or appetite
● Difficulty concentrating
● Frequent thoughts of death or suicide
● Feeling worthless or hopeless
Keep in mind that in order to be diagnosed with seasonal depression, people must meet full criteria for major depression coinciding with specific seasons for at least 2 years. Seasonal depressions must be much more frequent than any non-seasonal depressions. If you or someone you know are having suicidal thoughts, then you should let a medical professional know immediately.
These risk factors can increase your likelihood of having seasonal depression:
● Family history: If you have a family history of depression, then you are at risk for seasonal depression.
● Depression or bipolar disorder: People with depression or bipolar disorder are at high risk for seasonal depression.
● Young adults: Seasonal depression has been reported more for children and young adults.
If you think you have seasonal depression, then you should schedule an appointment with your doctor. There are a variety of treatments that they can recommend including:
● Light therapy: This is usually used to replace the diminished sunlight of the fall and winter months with daily exposure to bright and artificial light.
● Vitamin D
● Cognitive-behavioral therapy
Don’t be afraid to talk to someone if you are experiencing seasonal depression. There are lots of resources available if you need them. The best thing to do is to seek treatment from a doctor immediately. Our Ascension Network doctors are always here to help.