Many may think it's just the "winter blues," but in fact, some might be suffering from a type of depression called, "seasonal affective disorder" or seasonal depression.
Signs can present themselves mildly at the beginning of winter, and get worse as the season goes on--and they only seem to occur during the winter months.
While researchers have yet to figure out a specific causes of seasonal depression, many believe that it has to do with the lack of sunlight, which can mess with a person's internal clock, reduce levels of serotonin, and also mess with melatonin levels in the brain, all of which can mess with sleeping patterns as well as mood.
This, in turn, can negatively affect a person's work or school habits, many might feel the need to isolate themselves from the outside world, and seasonal depression has even been known to lead to substance abuse problems.
So, aside from feelings of depression, what are the other signs of seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD)?
Check out the list from the Mayo Clinic below:
2. Tiredness or low energy
3. Problems getting along with other people
4. Hypersensitivity to rejection
5. Heavy, "leaden" feeling in the arms or legs
7. Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
8. Weight gain
So what should you do if you think that you may have seasonal depression? Don't worry, your doctor can help.
According to Mayo Clinic, "It's normal to have some days when you feel down. But if you feel down for days at a time and you can't get motivated to do activities you normally enjoy, see your doctor. This is especially important if your sleep patterns and appetite have changed or if you feel hopeless, think about suicide, or turn to alcohol for comfort or relaxation."
The great news is that seasonal depression has various effective and natural treatments that have shown to help many suffering from seasonal depression. Aside from medication and talk therapy, "light therapy" has seemed to significantly reduce symptoms of seasonal depression. According to the Mayo Clinic, "In light therapy, also called phototherapy, you sit a few feet from a special light therapy box so that you're exposed to bright light. Light therapy mimics natural outdoor light and appears to cause a change in brain chemicals linked to mood."
Your doctor might also recommend that you get outside as much as possible, change your diet, or increase (or start) exercising habits.
What do you think about this? Have you heard of seasonal depression before? Let us know what you think in the comments!
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