Seasonal Depression & You

As the weather plummets and summer slowly gives over to winter, there are many things we can look forward to like how the holidays are right around the corner and we no longer have to worry about getting burned by the scorching summer heat. But although the winter - and all the pumpkin-flavored items that come with it - is a good time, the leaves aren’t the only things that change with the weather. For many Americans, the winter months also induce a less-than-merry time of the year. Seasonal affective disorder, known popularly as seasonal depression, is a form of depression that spikes at specific times of the year, most commonly affecting those with the disorder at around winter, robbing them of their chance to enjoy the chilly wonders of the season. Seasonal depression, like most depressive disorders, is a unique experience for those who function with it, with varying causes. It is most commonly characterized, however, by traditional symptoms of depression accompanied by the usual winter blues. One article alone isn’t nearly enough to help confirm if you may be dealing with seasonal affective disorder but there are few common symptoms which, courtesy of HelpGuide.org, can aid you in understanding why the winter may not be as enjoyable of a time for you, or someone you know, as it is for others.

Courtesy: Unsplash

1. Behavioral Changes 

Aside from depressive moods, seasonal depression usually manifests in a sharp plummet in behavioral activities. Those affected by it may find themselves drained of their energy, with dramatic changes in their eating and sleeping behaviors. During the winter months, the decrease in sunlight and the absence of warmth can significantly impact our energy levels.

2. Isolation

Seasonal affective disorder may not only affect your activity levels during the wintertime, but its depressive moods may also lead to bouts of isolation. This may be due to a loss of interest in social activities or a change of interest in relationships that typically fulfill us. Being isolated, however, may also strain from an increased sense of stress or irritability, which can also accompany moods.

3. Bodily Changes

Lastly, bodily changes are also significant indicators of what may be seasonal affective disorder. Weight gain is typically accompanied by reduced activity and increased eating habits during this time. While fluctuation in weight is a completely normal and human thing that happens, seasonal affective disorder can inadvertently impact not just our mental health, but also our physical wellbeing.

Courtesy: Hian Oliveira

While the causes of seasonal depression remain largely unclear, medical professionals encourage those affected by the disorder – or those who may notice these symptoms in friends and loved ones – to understand that like other depressive disorders, living with S.A.D is very possible. The most recommended treatment for wintertime depression is sunlight; while it may be difficult to want to venture out into the cold for extended periods of time, doctors encourage ample exposure to the sun and its warmth to help combat the frigidness of our wintertime blues. Physical activity can also help balance and boost hormone levels, which drop with inactivity and isolation. And lastly, remaining social can often curb those feelings of loneliness which come from being alone.

Remember that for many, the wintertime may not be as joyful a season as it is for others. Paying attention to the signs – which are many and can be learned about with further research – can lend those living with S.A.D that extra layer of love and patience that they deserve during the winter.

 

Want to see more HCFSU? Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest!