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5 Ways to Overcome Seasonal Depression

a person lays on a couch with the snowy background and overcomes seasonal depression

Every fall and winter, millions of Americans develop a diagnosable form of something called seasonal depression. The same condition, known officially as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), can also occur in the spring and summer. SAD is a subtype of major depression, the world’s most common mental health issue. Because of its prevalence, the appropriate depression treatment can help you recover. You can also do things on your own to limit the impact of the disorder.

What Is Seasonal Depression?

Seasonal depression gets its name because it occurs at certain times of the year rather than year-round. The most common form of the illness is known as winter-pattern SAD. This condition typically starts at the end of fall or the beginning of winter. It lasts for a few months, then starts to fade as the number of daylight hours increases.
Some people develop summer-pattern SAD. This condition typically arises in the spring and lasts throughout the summer. It begins to fade when the number of daylight hours starts to decrease.

The core symptoms of SAD are identical to those in other forms of major depression. They include:

  • A frequent down mood or feelings of sadness
  • Altered sleep patterns
  • Fatigue
  • An unexplained or disproportionate sense of guilt
  • Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
  • Problems thinking clearly
  • A declining ability to feel pleasure
  • Thoughts of dying, death, or suicide

There are also other symptoms specific to SAD. For the winter-pattern form of the disorder, common effects include:

  • Excessive sleeping
  • Withdrawal from social contact
  • Heavy food intake with a strong preference for carbohydrates
  • Associated weight gain

Unique summer-pattern seasonal depression symptoms include anxiousness, restlessness, and feelings of agitation. They also include insomnia and loss of appetite. In addition, some people experience unusual bouts of violent behavior.

Who Gets Seasonal Affective Disorder, and Why?

The causes of SAD are not fully understood. Therefore, it can be hard to answer the question of who gets seasonal affective disorder. However, certain risk factors have been identified.

Seasonal disruptions of your internal biological clock may contribute to the onset of SAD. Chemical changes inside your body may also be significant. That includes seasonally reduced levels of serotonin and melatonin.

You’re more likely to develop SAD the further you live from the equator. Bipolar disorder and year-round major depression are also known to increase your risks. The same holds true for a family history of seasonal depression. A lack of adequate vitamin D levels in your system may also play a role.

Ways of Overcoming Winter Depression

Looking for ways to overcome winter-pattern depression? Experts recommend several actions, including:

  • Seeking a formal diagnosis and professional treatment
  • Following the treatment plan devised by your doctor
  • Taking steps to maintain or increase your level of social activity
  • Getting plenty of exercise
  • Keeping a regular daily schedule

It’s best to exercise during the brightest time of the day so you get the maximum benefit of sunlight exposure. You can also take other steps. For example, it may help to avoid alcohol. In addition, your doctor may recommend vitamin D supplements.

Seek More Advice on Overcoming Winter Depression at Northpoint Colorado

Need more advice on coping with seasonal depression? Talk to the experts at Northpoint Colorado. We can help you determine if you’re affected by SAD. We can also provide you with a more extensive list of ways to overcome the disorder’s effects.

Northpoint Colorado specializes in treating SAD that co-occurs with diagnosable substance problems. We also treat other forms of depression that occur alongside these problems. Our customized recovery options are designed to fit your specific situation. Just call us today at 888.231.1281 or complete our online form.