Seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is depression that gets triggered by the changing seasons. SAD typically has an onset in the fall when the days are shorter and darker, and the weather makes it more difficult to spend time outdoors. Seasonal depression usually gets worse over the winter months and resolves in the spring. Research indicates that about five percent of American adults have seasonal depression. A milder version of SAD, commonly referred to as the winter blues, impacts many people. Like other forms of depression, SAD negatively impacts daily functioning. A depression treatment program can provide the support you need.
If you suffer from seasonal depression that impairs your quality of life, reach out to Harmony Hills at 855.494.0357. Through our programs for depression, you can learn the tools to overcome SAD this winter and for the years to come.
Learn to Recognize the Symptoms of Seasonal Depression
Seasonal depression is thought to be caused by disturbances in the circadian rhythm of the body. Think of the circadian rhythm as the clock that regulates the body’s physical, mental, and behavioral changes in a 24-hour cycle. This natural internal process regulates the sleep-wake cycle and is heavily influenced by light and darkness, specifically sunlight entering through the eyes. In the short days of winter, many people have to wake up before dawn and often cannot leave work until after sunset. Insufficient exposure to sunlight lowers the production of melatonin and serotonin, producing the symptoms associated with seasonal depression.
As SAD is cyclical, so is the onset of symptoms. SAD is a form of depression, different from everyday sadness or fatigue brought about by the ups and downs of daily life. Specific symptoms that characterize seasonal depression include:
- Sleeping more than usual but still experiencing fatigue
- A heavy feeling in the arms and legs
- Increased appetite, carbohydrate cravings, and weight gain
- Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness
- Loss of interest in usual activities and social withdrawal
- Feeling irritable and anxious
- Difficulty focusing or concentrating
If you experience symptoms of SAD, do not self-diagnose. It is essential to talk to your health care provider to rule out any physical causes for your symptoms or determine if you have a more significant underlying mental health disorder.
Should You Seek Depression Rehab in Florida?
Although you cannot stop the changing of the seasons, there are simple things you can do daily to find relief from symptoms of seasonal depression. Take time to spend outside each day, especially when it is sunny. The exposure will help boost your Vitamin D levels, and the fresh air is invigorating. Exercise increases endorphins, which are mood-boosting hormones, so stay active. A healthy diet reduces inflammation, which is associated with depression, so avoid highly processed foods. Stay connected to friends and family. Having a solid social network is an excellent defense against depression. Seasonal depression responds well to treatment, which can include light therapy, medication, and psychotherapy. You can purchase light therapy lamps almost everywhere, but you should consult your healthcare provider before using one.
While there are many things you can do to alleviate symptoms of SAD, there are significant benefits to seeking help from professional depression treatment programs. It is vital to seek help if your symptoms worsen or you have thoughts of self-harm or suicide. At Harmony Hills, we offer solutions such as:
- Medication management
- 12-step therapy
- Trauma therapy
- Individual and group therapy
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- EMDR therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
The types of therapy that are right for you will depend upon several factors. Our team will work with you to find the best fit. Perhaps the most significant benefit of professional programs for depression is learning that you are not alone.
Find Programs for Depression at Harmony Hills
Not everyone who experiences seasonal depression will need professional treatment. However, for some, it offers the extra support needed to overcome the challenges they are facing. If you have questions about depression treatment programs, reach out to Harmony Hills at 855.494.0357.