Do You Have Symptoms of Seasonal Depression?

seasonal depressionIf what you feel most about winter is bleak, gray and feels somewhat hopeless, you may be among thousands of Americans with seasonal depression. In fact, for some people, seasonal depression is an annual reality. Seasonal depression doesn’t only strike in winter, but for those affected by seasonal affective disorder (SAD), the dark months are the most common trigger.

Just what causes SAD remains unclear, though there are some theories on what leads to seasonal depression. One explanation suggests that the lack of bright sunlight may result in the brain’s reduced manufacture of the mood-affecting chemical serotonin. This wouldn’t explain why some people experience seasonal depression in spring or summer, yet the theory does match what’s been observed about the condition for winter SAD. For example, SAD more often affects people living in countries with a cold, dark winter season and does not show up as often in tropical, sunny climes.

A person with SAD may feel lethargic, hungry, unfocused and more desirous of solitude. They may gain weight as a result of increased appetite and less activity. Depending upon the severity, a person may find that their seasonal depression symptoms affect work or personal relationships in a negative way. The condition tends to affect more women than men.

Seasonal depression often begins just as a person enters adulthood and persists in a predictable manner according to season, year after year. The good news is that just because a person has been experiencing seasonal depression for a number of years, they don’t have to continue feeling deeply sad and live with these symptoms. Treatment is available and may include rising to get outdoors and expose yourself to the morning sun, bright lamps, antidepressant therapy and meeting with a mental health professional.

If you find that winter brings on a weight of sadness that affects your daily life, stop by and talk with us at Family Guidance Center. Winter doesn’t have to be a season lived with seasonal depression.