If shorter days and changing weather drain your energy and make you feel down, you may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a kind of depression brought on by seasonal variations in daylight and temperature.
Expert can't find the real answer why we are getting affected by seasons that much. But we all know that we are suffering somehow.
Whatever the origin of one's SAD, the following signs and symptoms are common:
Depressive feelings that last the majority of the day, every day, and follow a pattern
Tiredness or a lack of energy
Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
Appetite changes or weight gain
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, SAD affects between 4 to 6% of persons in the United States. According to the organization, up to 20% of people may experience a moderate version of depression, known as the "winter blues," that begins when the days become shorter and colder.
SAD is more common in women and young individuals, as well as those who reside farther away from the equator. People with a familial history of depression or bipolar disease, as well as those with a diagnosis of depression or bipolar disorder, may be more vulnerable.
Get help professionally
SAD must be diagnosed by a mental health expert since it is a type of depression. "Your doctor will be able to tell you if you have SAD or if you have another type of sadness."
Try Light From a Box
According to a study published in 2017 in the Einstein Journal of Biology and Medicine, bright light therapy (exposure to artificial light to assist keep one's circadian cycle on track) is largely regarded a first-line therapeutic option for SAD. A light treatment box is one approach to explore bright light therapy.
According to the Mayo Clinic, these gadgets, also known as phototherapy boxes, emit light that resembles sunlight and can aid in the treatment of SAD. The light from the treatment boxes is far brighter than ordinary light bulbs, and it comes in a variety of wavelengths.
Get ready mentally for winter during fall!
Try to be more active on winter months. Hiking , camping and outdoor sports might help you with coping it. Regularly taking part in these activities ahead of time is much easier than trying to start from scratch once the winter blues have already set in.
Take Antidepressants into Consideration
Prescription antidepressants may help you overcome seasonal depression if light therapy or psychotherapy don't totally ease your symptoms, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, as long as you avoid pills that make you sleepy.
According to the organization, antidepressants are commonly used from autumn until spring while treating SAD.
Get a oil diffuser
Aromatherapy, which is the therapeutic use of essential oils, may also aid those with SAD.
According to a study published in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine in June 2020, essential oils may be useful in reducing the symptoms of depression and other psychological difficulties such as anxiety and sleep problems.
However, the review's authors point out that proof of essential oils' mental health benefits is minimal thus far.
Stick to a schedule
SAD patients frequently have difficulty sleeping at night and waking up in the morning. Sleep improves on a regular schedule, which might assist with seasonal depression symptoms.
According to doctors, "keeping a regular routine will expose you to light at constant and predictable periods." Furthermore, eating at regular intervals might assist you in avoiding overeating.
Try to be more active
Exercise, like it does for other types of depression, can aid with SAD. Exercise can also help counterbalance the weight increase associated with SAD, according to Kalayjian. In the depth of winter, Malinowski says she's more committed to her fitness and yoga practice.
Outdoor activity is the most effective treatment for SAD symptoms. If it's too cold or snowy to exercise outside, consider utilizing a treadmill, stationary cycle, or elliptical machine near a window at home or at the gym.
Use Dawn Simulators
Some patients with SAD may benefit from dawn simulators. These gadgets are alarm clocks, but instead of blaring or playing loud music to wake you up, they emit light that gradually grows in intensity, much like the sun.
Reward yourself with a vacation!
Taking a winter trip to a warmer region can assist with SAD symptoms by allowing you to get away from the cold and dreary sky, according to Kalayjian. Even a little respite from your regular routine in a sunny location can aid in the treatment of winter depression.