As we transition into winter, the sun is setting earlier, there are fewer sunny days, and the temperature drops significantly. For some, the winter months bring with them an overwhelming sense of despair to the point of interfering with daily functioning. Seasonal affective disorder is a diagnosable mental condition that affects about 5 percent of adults in the United States.
Symptoms of seasonal affective disorder include:
- Changes in appetite leading to weight loss or gain
- Low energy and fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sleep difficulties
- Loss of interested in previously enjoyed activities
Who is most affected by it?
Some people are more prone to seasonal depression than others. Young adult females tend to experience seasonal depression at rates higher than other demographics, but anyone can be affected by seasonal depression. People that live further from the equator with more drastic seasonal changes also have much higher occurrence rates of seasonal depression. Additionally, having a history of depression can increase the likelihood of suffering more depressive symptoms during the winter months.
The symptoms of seasonal depression are not “in your head”. The changing of seasons throws off your circadian rhythm and disrupts the balance of your hormones and chemicals in your brain.
How you can manage it.
Because seasonal depression has been linked to fewer hours of daylight, it may be helpful to increase exposure to artificial light and take vitamin D supplements. Often, however, seasonal depression is exacerbated by the events in your life and your perception of yourself, others, and the future. Thus, talk therapy can also be especially powerful in managing the symptoms of seasonal depression.
How we can help.
Depression specialists at Great Lakes Psychology Group are trained to help you identify and manage the seasonal symptoms of depression. We can help you cope with depression, regardless of the season. We offer conveniently located offices with appointment times that work around your schedule in a welcoming and confidential setting.
Take the first step toward a brighter life. Schedule an appointment today.