Many of us know what it feels like to be unimpressed, sad, or frustrated when the winter months roll back around. But for others, the dread of another impending winter season is more than simple winter blues.
Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as seasonal depression or SAD, is a very real form of depression that should not be taken lightly. Seasonal depression can interfere with a person’s focus, give them intense fatigue, and ruin motivation to perform tasks during the day.
Seasonal Depression is now recognized and more understood in the professional world, and treatment plans can be implemented by seeking professional care providers, such as going to a mental health clinic in Vancouver, BC. Here is a more in-depth look at what seasonal depression looks like, including its symptoms and treatment options.
What is Seasonal Depression?
Seasonal Affective Disorder is said to affect approximately 10 million Americans. Winter is the most common season for SAD due to the cold weather, bleak skies, and shorter periods of sunlight, but it can happen during other seasons. It is also found that SAD is more common the further you live from the equator, particularly among young adults and women.
The full reasoning behind SAD is not yet entirely known. Still, it is thought to be partially linked to an overproduction of melatonin, an underproduction of serotonin, and a disruption to your body’s internal clock due to time changes and lower light levels during winter. It is also theorized that SAD is a hereditary condition, possible to continue through a family’s genes.
Any of the following are known to be signs of seasonal depression, particularly if they persist for a period longer than two weeks:
- Persistent fatigue and exhaustion even after proper rest
- Heightened and chronic levels of anxiousness
- Easy irritability and quickness to anger
- Restlessness, which can include not being able to sit too long, jittery legs, or nail-biting
- Having difficulty focusing, making decisions, and remembering common tasks
- Either difficultly sleeping or, conversely, sleeping far too much
- Sudden weight gain
- Upset stomach, chronic headaches, and body pains
- Little to no interest in daily activities that usually bring joy
- Feeling isolated and catching yourself withdrawing from social interactions
You should never simply self-diagnose for any form of depression and seeking a professional diagnosis from a healthcare professional is always advised before you begin seeking treatment options.
Like regular depression, SAD is not a condition you can solve overnight. However, there are many types of treatments available. Due to lack of sunshine being a common trigger of the condition, light therapy options such as a sun lamp or lightbox can help provide a person with a daily dose of vitamin D and simulate the natural brightness of sunlight.
Other options may include vitamin D supplements, as low vitamin D levels have been linked to depression. The most effective form of treatment, however, is seeking out professional help, such as a therapist, who can help you identify and talk through the causes of your SAD and guide you to any necessary treatment options and medications.
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