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Understanding the Effects of Seasonal Depression

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Understanding the Effects of Seasonal Depression

Perhaps you find yourself experiencing bouts of sadness or feelings of moodiness during certain times of the year. If so, you may be experiencing seasonal depression. What you’re feeling may be more than just the winter blues. If you’re tired of dealing with these feelings each year, you may want to look into getting professional help for your condition. It is possible to treat seasonal depression effectively so you can look forward to each new season. To learn more about managing your seasonal depression, reach out to Red Oak Recovery® today at 866.457.7590.

What is Seasonal Depression?

Seasonal depression is also commonly referred to as SAD or seasonal affective disorder. It’s a form of depression that typically starts with the onset of fall or winter, then subsides by spring or summer. Scientists haven’t pinned down an exact cause of seasonal depression. Some theories about what may prompt the illness’s onset include hormonal changes triggered during specific points in the year.

Other theories point to a lack of sunlight during the fall and winter months. It’s thought that the lack of sun decreases the production of serotonin. This chemical regulates mood through the pathways of the brain. When those nerve pathways start malfunctioning, it can lead to feelings of depression.

People often start experiencing seasonal depression when they become young adults. Women tend to be more affected by the disorder than men. The effects of seasonal depression vary from person to person. Some people experience only mild effects, while others get to a point where they have issues at home, school, or work.

Signs of Seasonal Depression

While most people experience seasonal depression during the fall or winter, it is possible to feel signs of the condition during the summer. People with SAD experience symptoms similar to those of depression, including:

  • Lack of energy
  • Problems concentrating
  • A desire to be left alone
  • Weight gain due to increased appetite
  • Sleeping a lot

Those who experience seasonal depression during the summer may have a different reaction. They tend to have less of an appetite and problems with sleeping. If you believe that you are suffering from the effects of seasonal depression, you should see a mental health professional. They can provide a formal evaluation and diagnosis.

Treating Seasonal Affective Disorder

Your doctor may recommend different courses of treatment depending on the severity of your seasonal depression. If you suffer from SAD during the winter, they may recommend that you go outside each day. This practice gives you more exposure to natural sunlight. Light therapy can be an alternative if you live in a place that does not get much light during the winter.

The procedure involves sitting around two feet away from a bright light that shines indirectly into your eyes. Most light therapy sessions start with 10 to 15-minute increments, gradually increasing as you continue.

Your physician may also recommend taking an anti-depressant to treat your seasonal depression. A combination of medication and light therapy can offer relief from the symptoms of SAD. Exercise, a well-balanced diet, and increased social engagement can also help offset the illness’s effects.

Reach out to your doctor if your current treatment course does little to alleviate your seasonal depression symptoms. Be open about what you’re experiencing so they can make proper recommendations around alternative methods of treating your disease. They can also evaluate you for other mental health disorders that may be present.

Get Help For Seasonal Depression

Red Oak Recovery® offers clinically-based treatments for young men seeking treatment for mental health disorders and substance use issues. We offer various programs geared toward helping them learn techniques on managing their illness while navigating the real world, including:

If you believe you may have seasonal depression or another mental health disorder, call Red Oak Recovery® at 866.457.7590.