The winter season has arrived with the days getting darker, shorter and the untimely warm weather. But what is the sad part of this season is it doesn’t come alone instead gets the seasonal depression along with it. Am I Right? Yes, most of us often feel more cranky, sad, anxious, tired, and lethargic at this time than usual. In clinical terms, it is referred to as ‘Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)’.
Know the seasonal affective disorder by the numbers below-
- The average age of people suffering from the seasonal affective disorder is 18-30.
- 55 percent of the sufferers have other family members with seasonal depression issues
- The ratio of men to women with SAD is 1: 4.
Individual experiences with seasonal affective disorder vary, but here are few symptoms to check out if you are feeling low.
Symptoms of Seasonal affective disorder
In many cases, Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms can appear during the late fall or early winter periods, and they go away during the sunnier months like spring and summer. People rarely suffer from Seasonal depression that occurs during the spring or summer months. Either way, the symptoms will start mild and get intense as the season progresses.
Fall and Winter Seasonal affective disorder symptoms:
Symptoms that come with winter onset SAD, also known as winter depression, can include:
- Drastic changes in Appetite, especially craving foods that are high in carbs
- Weight gain
Spring and Summer Seasonal affective disorder symptoms:
Symptoms that come with summer onset SAD, also known as summer depression, include:
- Poor Appetite
- Weight loss
- Anxiety or agitation
Seasonal changes and Bipolar disorder:
Patients who suffer from bipolar disorder are more likely to experience mania and hypomania during spring and summer, and experience depression during the fall and winter months.
The symptoms of SAD are somewhat similar to that of depression. Read the signs below-
- Lack of interest in normal activities
- Fatigue and weight gain
- Social withdrawal-like feel difficulty to be around people
- Disturbed sleep, lethargy, and narcoleptic symptoms
- Difficulty in concentration and memory issues
- Frequent headaches, sadness
- Anxiety and depression stay
- Feel hopeless, depressed and worthless.
The exact cause of SAD still remains unknown, but some of the factors that trigger this condition are as follows:
Your Circadian rhythm: Also known as your biological clock may get disrupted. Due to the limited amount of sunlight in fall and winter, it can trigger intense depression.
Serotonin levels: Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects your mood and a drop in its levels can trigger Seasonal Affective Disorder, along with limited sunlight.
Melatonin levels: Melatonin is crucial because it regulates your sleep patterns and mood swings as well. The change in seasons can disrupt the body’s melatonin levels and trigger Seasonal depression.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is diagnosed in women more than men, and it occurs frequently in young adults than older adults. Factors that may trigger your Seasonal disorder include-
Genetics: Family history can play a major role in SAD. People suffering from this disease will have blood relatives who suffer from depression.
Having Bipolar disorder: If not diagnosed in the early stages, the symptoms of seasonal depression can get worse over time, especially if the patient suffers from Bipolar disorder
Living away from the equator: It has been observed that people who live far from the equator tend to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder because of the decreased amount of sunlight during winter or longer days during the summer.
How to fight back against Seasonal affective disorder?
If you are thinking of beating the SAD, then we have brought to you a few tips for overcoming the winter blues.
Tips to beat Seasonal affective disorder-
- Get adequate sunlight:– Get outside when the natural light is brightest. 15 to 20 minutes of sunlight in the early morning will in a long way alleviate the winter blues.
- Exercise– Take a regular, moderate physical activity at least for 30 minutes to prevent depression and keep it at bay.
- Eat well– Maintain a well-balanced diet. Have rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc.
- Moderate your alcohol consumption:– Try as much as possible to reduce alcohol intake to stay well.
- Get enough sleep– Lack of sleep can cause mood swings. Hence try to get a sound sleep for at least 7 to 8 hours each night.
Apart from all these, you can even try some relaxation techniques to prevent seasonal depression and also stress. If in case you are willing to get treatment then here is some information about it.
Seasonal Affective Disorder treatment
Various treatments depend on the severity of the symptoms, and if you have any other type of depression or a bipolar disorder, the treatment can be different. There are traditional antidepressants that are used to treat seasonal depression.
Bupropion XL is the current medication that is FDA approved and is provided specifically to prevent any intense depressive episodes in people with Seasonal depression. Doctors only prescribe medication if the condition gets worse, but mostly they will recommend that patients get outside and take in as much sunlight as they can. If there is not much sunlight, then light therapy is used.
If you are experiencing the case of winter blues or the above symptoms, then consult a medical professional or a psychiatrist or a psychologist to do a mental health assessment and get a proper idea of how well you are able to reason, think, and remember and how you feel. Some of the treatments include-
- SAD lamp therapy– Light therapy helps to boosts the serotonin levels in the body to help you feel good. It works by restoring the biological clock. Counseling and medications may also help.
- Antidepressant medications– medications such as Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors can work well for people with SAD. Also, it works best when used with light therapy.
- Counseling sessions and therapies– Different counseling and psychotherapies such as interpersonal therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy can help to know more about the seasonal affective disorder. It also aids in managing the symptoms and helps to prevent future episodes.
If you feel low, and think you are in need of support and guidance, you are not alone. Call us @+91 96111 94949 or visit Cadabam’s and get the best assistance solution plan for treating this problem.