What is Seasonal Depression?
Seasonal depression, or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) as it is technically called, affects many individuals each year as the days grow colder and darker. Typically, SAD begins to trouble people in the autumn and winter months and lets up at the start of spring. Symptoms of seasonal affective disorder include persistent low mood, loss of interest in things once enjoyed, unexplained feelings of guilt, lack of energy, weight gain, and disrupted sleep schedule.
What causes SAD?
The cause of SAD has closely been linked to a disruption in the circadian rhythm, which has much to do with the body’s exposure to sunlight. In the winter months, there is not as much light and there is much less opportunity to be outdoors in general. This lack of sunlight can cause some people’s melatonin and serotonin levels to drop, ultimately causing low mood and other symptoms.
Although these symptoms very closely aligned with depression, professionals can distinguish when a person is suffering from SAD when they uncover the pattern of depressive periods. When a person is experiencing these things around the same time/season each year, it makes diagnosis much easier. While the symptoms of SAD can be just a slight irritant to some, others are quite debilitated by the symptoms.
Learning what things can be done to help combat the disorder is key in having happier, healthier winter months! While medication and therapy are certainly options for those experiencing seasonal depression, there are many things that can be done at home to help the symptoms.
Getting regular exercise and eating a balanced diet can boost mood and combat the symptoms of SAD. Finding ways to incorporate sunlight into your day can also be beneficial. Doing things such as rearranging your work/home space to let more light in and sitting near windows can help you to get the sunlight you need to bring up your spirits.
Being aware of what seasonal depression is and how you can help alleviate some of your symptoms can make all the difference in those dark winter months. When you are caring for someone you love, it can be difficult to deal with SAD amidst all of your other responsibilities. Reaching out to professionals for help or making the small changes mentioned in this article can help you get out of the seasonal slump and onto brighter days.
Need more support?
If you think that you may be facing seasonal depression, Suffolk Carers Matter is here for you. We offer free support, advice, and guidance and even have a free counselling service available should you need it!
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