Some people experience mood disturbances and a decrease in motivation with the arrival of winter. They may think that this is normal, but it may be an indication of winter depression, which is a medical condition that may require drug treatment.
This disease is called seasonal affective disorder, also known as winter depression, and in this report we will provide information about it, how to prepare for it, and what are the treatment options.
The American Mayo Clinic defines seasonal affective disorder as a type of depression that occurs due to seasonal changes, and begins and ends at approximately the same times every year.
When winter depression occurs
Symptoms of seasonal affective disorder usually begin in the fall and continue into the winter months, and these symptoms often go away during the spring and summer months. In less common cases, seasonal affective disorder leads to depression during the spring or early summer, and symptoms go away during the fall or winter months, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Symptoms of winter depression
- Depressed mood.
- Excessive sleep.
- Appetite changes, especially cravings for carbohydrates such as sweets.
Causes of winter depression
Depression A disease in which there is a decrease in the level of neurotransmitters, especially Serotonin In the brain and neural synapses, its deficiency is believed to play a fundamental role in depression.
Changes in winter may affect neurotransmitter levels. Decreased daylight likely plays a role, making our circadian rhythms out of sync and can affect parts of the brain associated with mood.
Prepare for winter depression
It’s easier to prepare for and prevent seasonal winter depression, Norman Rosenthal, a psychiatrist at Georgetown University School of Medicine, told The Washington Post.
Rosenthal recommended that people who suffer from winter depression prepare as follows:
Tell your doctor
Rosenthal recommended telling your doctor if you develop depression in the winter.
For her part, Kelly Rohan, a professor of psychological sciences at the University of Vermont, said that if you do not have an official diagnosis of winter depression disorder but find that the symptoms have worsened in your daily life, ask your primary care provider to refer you to a mental health specialist.
Rohan added that depression is a serious mental health problem.
Telling your doctor will help suggest specific strategies to protect against winter depression.
Start light therapy
Phototherapy is a treatment that involves a person sitting near a special light source every morning for at least 30 minutes, according to Harvard University. It has an effect on mood.
Morning light therapy helps us recalibrate our circadian rhythms and, when used correctly, can be an effective treatment for winter seasonal depression disorder with minimal side effects.
You should make sure you have a light box and identify a room in the house that has bright light, Rosenthal said.
And if you know you’re responding well to light therapy, the clinical guideline is to “start it at the first symptoms every year,” Kelly says.
Do the following to reduce your risk of winter depression:
- Exercise daily.
- Do things you love like reading or meditating.
- Maintain your social relationships.
- Organize your day and do not exhaust yourself, so that you do not feel that you are under a lot of pressure.
Treating winter depression
If symptoms begin and you are diagnosed with the disease, there are several treatment options, such as:
- Medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
- Cognitive behavioral therapyIt is a therapeutic method that relies on conversation between the patient and the therapist, with the aim of overcoming problems by changing the way of thinking and behaving.
- Continue phototherapy.