Seasonal depression is a subtype of major depressive disorder (MMD) that has a seasonal onset. While some people experience seasonal depression during the spring and summer, it is more common in the fall and winter. Seasonal depression is different from the winter blues, a mild form of depression specific to the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Like MDD, seasonal depression, also called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), can significantly interfere with daily functioning. While you can do things for yourself to alleviate the symptoms of seasonal depression, you might also benefit from a depression treatment program in Florida.
If seasonal depression diminishes your quality of life, reach out to the Harmony Hills team by calling 855.494.0357. Through our programs for depression, you can uncover the roots of depression and acquire tools to overcome it, no matter what time of year it may impact you.
Tips to Managing Seasonal Depression Disorder
Everything feels more challenging when you live with a depression disorder. Going to work, doing household chores, socializing, or even just getting out of bed can feel overwhelming. Experts believe that, like MDD itself, the causes of seasonal depression are linked to genetic factors and disruptions in serotonin and dopamine. Further, the lack of sunlight plays a significant role in winter-onset seasonal depression. Sunlight exposure impacts our serotonin and vitamin D levels, both of which affect our mood and energy level. Studies show that the further you live from the equator, the more likely you will be affected by seasonal depression.
Depression can have severe negative impacts on all areas of your life, including relationships, work, finances, and overall health. It is common for individuals with severe depression to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol, resulting in substance use disorders that compound depression symptoms. In cases like this, the best way to manage depression is with a residential treatment program.
The first step in managing your depression is to talk with your doctor, who may prescribe antidepressants that make your depression more manageable. Other tips for alleviating seasonal depression symptoms include:
- Avoid alcohol, which is a depressant
- Use a light therapy box or dawn simulator
- Stick to a schedule
- Get at least 20-30 minutes of outdoor activity daily
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet
- Participate in individual or group therapy, or both
A critical element to managing depression is to avoid the desire to withdraw and isolate. Prioritize social activities so that you stay engaged with others. Everyone needs a solid support network. Also, in talking to friends and family, you may find that you are not alone in your struggle with seasonal depression.
The Difference Between Seasonal Depression and MDD
Since seasonal depression is a form of major depressive disorder (MDD), many symptoms vary. Of course, depression affects everyone differently, but common symptoms include:
- Persistent sadness lasting more than two weeks
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering things, and making decisions
- Sleep disturbances
- Restlessness and irritability
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and guilt
Seasonal depression is more than depression that arises in the winter. Many people experience situational depression at a particular time of year. For example, you feel depressed every November because it marks the anniversary of the loss of a loved one. Seasonal depression follows a predictable, recurrent pattern of onset and cessation. Significant characteristics of seasonal depression are extreme lethargy and considerable weight gain caused by a constant craving for carbohydrates.
Find Seasonal Depression Disorder Treatment at Harmony Hills
Not everyone who experiences seasonal depression requires professional depression treatment. Many people can manage their symptoms with prescription antidepressants, lifestyle changes, and weekly sessions with a mental health counselor. For some, seasonal depression can be debilitating, making residential depression treatment critical to improving health and achieving a better quality of life. If you think you have seasonal depression, do not self-diagnose. Reach out to Harmony Hills to speak with our depression treatment specialists.
You can contact our team at 855.494.0357.