Recognizing and managing symptoms of seasonal depression during winter

Recognizing and managing symptoms of seasonal depression during winter

A drop in the temperature spells a mood swing in some people, which can cause depression. Termed as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), it is classified as a type of depression that effects some individuals each year during the winters. SAD is a serious mood disorder, which is much harder to deal with at a time when almost everyone enjoys the holiday season. The dullness in days, aggravated by the lack of the sun’s brightness and warmth, discourages individuals with SAD to step out, leaving them to experience a drop in their energy and mood levels.

Experts believe that limited exposure to sunlight can alter the circadian rhythm of a person that further affects the sleep-wake cycles, which are critical in determining the individual’s energy and mood. According to Dr. David Earnest, SAD is not like common forms of clinical depression. “SAD differs from depression in that symptoms usually are less severe and SAD is ‘seasonal’, with typical onset of most symptoms during the late Fall and Winter due to the changes in day length,” said Earnest, a circadian rhythms expert at the Texas A&M College of Medicine.

Symptoms and treatment

Low energy levels, feeling sluggish or depressed, sleep disorders, avoiding social activities and changes in appetite are some of the symptoms, which can trouble individuals with SAD. There are some activities, apart from professional help and medication, which can bring a sense of relief and ease the symptoms of SAD or winter depression:

Light therapy: It is known to be an effective treatment for the seasonal depression. Light boxes are available commercially and can go a long way in easing SAD symptoms when natural light during winter is not sufficient.

Natural light: People with SAD are advised by doctors to soak in as much natural light from the sun as they can. When one can’t step out, it is best to keep the blinds open and sit close to windows whenever possible. The bright light helps alleviate the mood. Besides, whenever possible, one should try and get as much exercise in the natural light and fresh air as one can.

Magic of daily walks: Going for regular walks will benefit in the long run. Spending more time outdoors is a great way to avoid the onset of the symptoms of depression. Daily walks, coupled with some aerobic exercise, greatly help in managing the symptoms of SAD.

Healthy diet: It has its own benefits, when it comes to getting rid of depression. Starches and sugars must be avoided. Besides, one should skip heavy meals or drinking fluids before going to bed at night.

Proper sleep pattern: It helps create a regular light-dark cycle, which is instrumental in combating seasonal affective disorder. It is important to set a routine to go to bed each night. It helps to minimize the exposure to light during the two hours prior to that time.

Looking at the bright side

It is of high importance to remember that SAD is a medical condition that influences the mental as well as the physical well-being of a person. If left untreated, it can reduce the quality of life. Symptoms like fatigue, pain and cognitive impairment can get aggravated. Chances of severe depression leading to life-threatening situations are high.

If you notice any signs of depressive disorder in either yourself or a loved one, it is imperative to seek professional guidance immediately. Contact the Texas Depression Treatment Help to know about some of the finest depression treatment centers in Texas that offer a holistic treatment for depressive disorders. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-827-0282 or chat online with one of our experts to get information about the best depression treatment in Texas.