Strategies to Help Seasonal Depression
Over half a million people in the US alone suffer from seasonal depression. Three-quarters of the people who have this mental condition are women, and the depression usually commences during one’s early childhood. With these statistics, one can’t help but wonder what precisely seasonal depression is and the qualities people who have it exhibit. This article will discuss everything you need to know about this condition, from its symptoms to its treatment. Let’s get right to it, shall we?
What it’s all about
Often called ‘winter blues,’ Seasonal Depression is a depression that occurs or manifests each year, usually at the same time. This depression mostly starts around the Fall season then progresses and worsens in winter before terminating in Spring. On infrequent occasions, this depression begins late Spring and ends in Fall, and it’s called ‘Summer Depression.’ Hence, it’s a yearly struggle for people who deal with seasonal depression, which, as previously mentioned, is very common for over half a million people in the US. Now, people who live in cloudy regions or countries farther north or south of the equator are more likely to be susceptible to Seasonal Depression or Winter Blues. This is because of its triggers as changes in the availability of sunlight trigger seasonal depression. One of its causative theories is that there’s a shift in one’s internal biological clock with less sunlight exposure. Now, this is the clock that regulates moods, sleep, and hormones. Another causative theory has to do with brain chemicals and neurotransmitters like serotonin.
Before one can figure out a diagnosis, there are symptoms to look out for in seasonal depression. These symptoms include sadness, anxiety, irritability, apathy for usual activities, social withdrawal, extreme fatigue, increased need for sleep, weight loss, insomnia, etc.
With everything said and done, here’s how you can help someone with seasonal depression;
- Get active: Physical activity is usually on a decline during the winter because of the temperature decrease. Hence, engaging in it can help lift your spirits because by pushing yourself to exercise and get active, you’re consequently combating SAD by producing good brain chemistry.
- Using light therapy: Many experts believe that Seasonal Depression is triggered by changes in exposure to sunlight, hence light treatment. In essence, by administering a device with white fluorescent light tubes while blocking its UV rays or sitting in front of a 10,000 lux light for 30 minutes every morning, the Seasonal Depression symptoms can be reduced.
- Psychotherapy: Utilizing cognitive behavioral therapy, which is a subset of psychotherapy, can help SAD patients to identify and purge negative thoughts while learning healthy ways to cope with the condition and effectively manage stress.
- Vocational: Focus on the positive and try to manage your stress. Do something that relaxes you, like visiting with friends, reading a book, or taking a bath.
Seasonal Depression, which is medically referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder, is a depression type that is season-sensitive. It affects over half a million US residents and several more around the world. However, it’s a condition that can be appropriately managed using either of the previously highlighted strategies.
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