Key things to know about Winter Depression

Key things to know about winter depression

Welcome to the wonderful winter weather of the year and to some welcome winter depression. Now the question is what is winter depression? How does it affect you? And how do you cope with it? Key things to know about winter depression can help in recovering from winter depression.

what is winter depression?

The medical term for winter depression is known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The seasonal affective disorder commonly happens in the fall and winter months but can happen also during the summer months. There are two terms.

Winter Depression

SAD is mostly known as winter onset or winter depression. It happens between late fall and early winter. Winter depression is the basic symptom of depression.

Summer Depression

The other term for SAD is spring onset or summer depression. This happens during the late spring to early summer. Summer depression is something you don’t hear about much. Summer depression is again the basic symptom of depression.

Causes of Winter Depression?

Winter depression is thought to be linked to the lack of sunlight during the winter months. The sleep-related hormone melatonin has been linked to winter depression. Our bodies make melatonin in the dark; the more it is dark, the more our bodies make it.

What are the symptoms of winter depression?

  1. Increased sleep and daytime drowsiness.
  2. Loss of interest and pleasure in normal or commonly enjoyed activities.
  3. Increased sensitivity to rejection
  4. Social withdrawal.
  5. Irritability and anxiety
  6. Feelings of guilt and hopelessness
  7. Low energy level
  8. Lower sex drive
  9. Harder to concentrate or focus.
  10.  Difficulty thinking clearly.
  11.  Increased drive for sweets or carbohydrates.
  12.  Weight gain
  13.  Possible headache

Symptoms return around the same time yearly commonly and improve same time yearly too. But talk to your local doctor to confirm your diagnosis because depression can be caused by heart disease, cancer, or disorders like substance abuse or anxiety.

what are Treatments for winter depression?

The treatments for winter depression and summer depression often differ. Common treatments can include any or a combination of the following:

  1. Sunlight

Spending time outside or near a window can help treat SAD.

  • Light therapy

If sunlight is not possible use a special light every day to help SAD when sunlight is lacking. It helps work on the biological clock, and balances serotonin (a key chemical for mood regulations.)

  • Psychotherapy Cognitive-behavioral or interpersonal therapy
  • Antidepressants

Coping skills I can use for winter depression?

Here is a list of things to help relieve symptoms if treatments can not be put into effect immediately.

  1. Regular exercise (exercises to help your mental health)
  2. Remember that your mood doesn’t change immediately.
  3. Eat healthily.
  4. Stay away from alcohol and drugs.
  5. Let family and friends help
  6. Peer support

There are many more ways to help with symptoms of depression. Winter depression is hard just like all types of depression but just like the other types, there are ways to treat it and recover from it.

Leave a comment on your thoughts about the winter months

(This is an informational and personal experience article only, talk to your neurology specialist, local doctor, or nurse first for more specific information about you, your condition, and what works best for you.)

John is a person who was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of eight. John has been a certified peer recovery specialist in the state of Iowa since 2019. John also has training in ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training. John is an advocate for epilepsy and mental health. John blogs to support fellow people with epilepsy and mental health on their road to recovery.

John loves art, comics (Marvel especially), and the UI Hawkeyes. John lives in a small town with his three furry best friends Louie and Mario. (Dogs) and Leo (Cat)

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