Seasonal depression is the common name for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is a type of depressive disorder that is characterized by symptoms of depression that only appear during certain times of the year. Typically, the season in which most people who are living with SAD experience depressive symptoms in the winter months, so it’s important for people who struggle with winter depression to understand the help that is available to them as winter months are fast approaching. If you are wondering how to cope with seasonal depression, you are not alone. And, there are treatments available to help you get through these symptoms and this time of year.
What Causes Seasonal Affective Disorder?
There is no one cause for depression, and there is likely not one thing that leads to seasonal depression. However, there are some commonalities in people who are living with seasonal depression and it’s helpful to identify some of the things that can lead to the development of this type of depression. Some of the common causes and contributing factors of seasonal depression include:
Seratonin: Winter days are shorter and darker, which can play a part in the natural production of mood-altering chemicals in the brain, including serotonin, which is responsible for feelings of well-being.
Hormones: Shorter and darker days in the winter months can impact the body’s hormone production, including the production of melatonin. This hormone is responsible for a number of things, but mainly, helping a person to fall and stay asleep. With melatonin production minimal, individuals are more likely to experience a number of negative symptoms including heightened stress and depression.
Circadian Rhythm: The Circadian rhythm is what our bodies use to let us know that it is time to get up and go to sleep. It’s a natural, biological process that is determined by darkness and light, which is thrown off by shortened winter days. This can fluctuate a number of things like neurological processes and hormonal changes which can both lead to symptoms of depression.
How to Cope With Seasonal Depression
There are a number of things that you can do to hopefully manage symptoms of seasonal depression including:
Light therapy: Vitamin D is a resource our bodies need to produce mood-managing chemicals. Vitamin D is directly absorbed into the body by our skin through sunlight. And, since sunlight is lessened in the winter months, light therapy can help to supplement this lost resource.
Getting Out in Nature: Being in nature can help to reduce stress and depression. It can also help the body to get more sunlight, even if there is less time to get out in the sun during winter months. So, it can be helpful to make it a routine to get outdoors in order to cope with seasonal depression.
Get Exercise: Exercise is another thing that can help manage symptoms of depression. When we exercise, our bodies naturally release mood-changing endorphins that can help us better deal with symptoms of depression. So, try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day.
Speaking to a Mental Health Professional: If you find that no matter what you do, you still experience debilitating symptoms of depression during the summer, it may be time to get help. There are treatments available for people living with depression that don’t have to be invasive or lead to adverse side effects or reactions.
Considering Synchrony Brain Health for Depression Help
Synchrony Brain Health is an outpatient mental health treatment facility that focuses on a neurological treatment approach to help people living with depression. We offer revolutionary tools like ketamine therapy and dTMS that treat depression directly at the source – the brain. To learn more about these therapies and more about what we do, visit our website today.