If you find yourself getting blue when the seasons change, there are many others in the same boat. Seasonal depression can complicate your recovery if you haven’t developed the tools to take your thoughts and emotions into your own hands. Learn to recognize the signs of seasonal depression and learn about our depression treatment center at Red Oak Recovery by calling 828.382.9699 today.
What is Seasonal Depression?
SAD is an appropriate acronym for seasonal affective disorder. Most people experience this disorder in the fall, and negative emotions escalate in the winter. When spring comes, you may brush off the winter blues when it becomes comfortable to attend outside events.
Is SAD Common?
Many Americans have some form of seasonal depression. More women than men show symptoms of the winter blues, and some studies associate SAD with the weather. Significantly, more people living in cooler, higher latitudes experience seasonal depression than those who live close to the equator.
Causes of Seasonal Depression
More research may reveal definitive causes of this disorder. However, scientists and medical professionals blame it on a lack of sunlight due to colder weather. With less sunlight, the theory goes, your internal clock has a harder time regulating sleep, moods, and hormones. Fortunately, exposure to sunlight can help calibrate your biological clock.
Brain chemicals such as serotonin may also change when you experience seasonal depression. Conversely, exposure to light may improve your mood. Melatonin affects sleep patterns and can improve the signs of seasonal depression. Darker days may stimulate melatonin production, making you sleepier in the winter. If correct, this could explain why you feel more sluggish and unmotivated.
Precursors of Seasonal Affective Disorder
Some of the more common symptoms of a seasonal affective disorder include the following:
- Loss of interest in favorite hobbies
- Difficulty concentrating
- Social withdrawal
- Heavy sensation in limbs
- Weight gain
Some people also suffer from seasonal depression in the summer. If you grow sad and anxious when the weather turns warm, you may notice weight loss, trouble sleeping, decreased appetite, and agitation.
Three Sure Signs of Seasonal Depression
Here are three signs of seasonal depression that you should look out for in yourself or those you love.
Seasonal depression surpasses brief periods of sadness. If you have persistent low moods, you may have this common disorder. Our mental health treatment programs can help you find better ways to cope with seasonal depression and other conditions at Red Oak Recovery.
Like other kinds of depression, SAD changes your appetite. You may feel hungry all the time or lose your appetite when a low mood hits. Although winter seasonal depression is more common, SAD can also cause summer mood swings. In the winter, signs of seasonal depression include cravings for carbohydrates and oversleeping. Summer SAD often results in weight loss and a poor appetite.
If you experience suicidal thoughts, seek help immediately. Seasonal depression often brings up thoughts of death. When you feel depressed every day, you may begin to feel a sense of hopelessness. This feeling is related to a lack of interest in activities that once enticed you. You may no longer want to spend time around other people, even those you love.
Substance Use and Seasonal Depression
Mental disorders such as SAD leave you vulnerable to self-medication through drug and alcohol use. A history of substance use disorder can exacerbate your struggle. Our disordered eating programs and dual diagnosis treatment can help you learn to deal with depression in a healthier way.
Get Addiction Treatment at Red Oak Recovery
Our caring staff consists of licensed psychiatrists who specialize in substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health issues. Say goodbye to the winter blues without resorting to drugs and alcohol with the help of an effective team of professionals who care about you. Contact Red Oak Recovery today at 828.382.9699 to learn more about our addiction treatment programs.