Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as seasonal depression, is a type of depression that typically occurs during the winter months, especially around January and February in the United States. It is identified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as “Major Depressive Disorder with Seasonal Pattern.”
Seasonal depression can make you feel completely hopeless, but there are multiple treatment options available. Whether you try medication, light therapy, or psychotherapy, you’re highly likely to find something that at least helps alleviate the symptoms of the seasonal depression you experience.
Symptoms Associated with Seasonal Depression
The symptoms that are commonly associated with seasonal depression can vary, but in general, may include:
- Feeling sad most days during a particular season
- Having low energy and a loss of interest in things you enjoy doing
- Sleeping too much
- Difficulty concentrating
- General feelings of hopelessness
When to Get Help
If you feel like you are experiencing these symptoms daily during the winter months, you should talk to your health care provider or reach out to someone in a mental health treatment center. If you are experiencing thoughts about suicide, then talk to your doctor immediately.
Seasonal depression can make it impossible to do daily tasks, which is why it is so important for you to reach out for help. Life is difficult enough, but it can seem impossible if you are struggling with depression. You deserve to be happy and get all the mental health treatment you need.
Treatment Options for Seasonal Depression
While light therapy, psychotherapy, and medications are some of the available treatment options for seasonal depression, if you struggle with bipolar disorder, other treatment options may be more beneficial. Be sure to talk to your therapist or health care provider about all the recommended treatment options for your needs.
Depressive disorders are common among teenagers, with about one in five developing symptoms before reaching adulthood. This phenomenon is complex and has multiple causes. Teenagers today are statistically more anxious and depressed than ever before. It’s important to note that only around one-third of those diagnosed with teen depression treatment.
As one of the most successful therapies offered for seasonal depression, light therapy involves sitting a few feet from a light lamp or box. This box exposes you to bright light within the first hour of waking up every day, mimicking sunlight to help stabilize and boost your mood. The light can also increase serotonin, which is a hormone your body produces that helps with your mood.
The second option is psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy. This is where you talk to a mental health professional about what you have been experiencing, and they can provide ways to cope and help you through the process. Therapy only works if you are willing to seek help and be honest with your therapist about your seasonal depression and how it affects your life.
The third option is medication. Some people benefit from taking antidepressants to help cope with their seasonal depression. Taking antidepressants that are used to treat seasonal depression may be a good option to help you. When taking such medications, remember that it may require several weeks for you to experience the full benefits.
Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference
In addition to these three common treatment options, there are also a few simple things you can change in your life to cope with seasonal depression. For example, you can exercise, set and keep smart sleep schedules, and, if possible, make your home environment more bright and sunny. These small things, along with the three treatment options mentioned above, have the potential of making your life a whole lot easier.
Seasonal depression can make you think that nobody understands how deeply hopeless you feel. Please remember that there are people that understand you, and there are ways you can climb out of the deep, dark pit of depression. By finding treatment and support, you can get back on track with life.
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