Have you ever felt more moody and more depressed at certain times of the year? It could be that you are dealing with the effects of seasonal depression. True seasonal depression cannot, and should not, be dismissed simply as a winter depression. It is a condition that can affect your daily life and prevent it from progressing. If these feelings are something you experience around the same time each year, you should consider seeking professional help for your condition. At GIA Miami, you can receive treatment to help you manage your symptoms more effectively.
What is seasonal depression?
Seasonal depression is a type of depression that affects people in the early fall or winter. You may have heard of seasonal depression as “seasonal affective disorder” or “SAD.” The effects of seasonal depression usually wear off with the onset of spring or summer. Researchers have speculated that the mental problem may be caused by specific hormonal changes that occur at certain times of the year.
Other speculations about the cause of seasonal depression include the idea that a lack of sunlight during the fall and winter could be a trigger. The sun increases the production of serotonin, a chemical that helps the brain’s pathways regulate your mood. Anything that interrupts these functions could cause feelings of sadness and general malaise.
Most people begin to experience seasonal depression once they are out of their teens and into young adults. The effects of the disorder can vary between individuals, although women may be more vulnerable to developing seasonal depression than men. One person may experience very mild symptoms, while another may reach the point where they cannot function in their daily life.
Symptoms of seasonal depression
Although many cases of seasonal depression occur during the fall or winter months, some people experience the disorder during the spring or summer. The symptoms of seasonal depression resemble those of traditional depression. You may find yourself experiencing the following:
- Feeling little or no energy to perform tasks or handle social interactions
- Difficulty concentrating on important things
- Not wanting to spend time with anyone
- You realize you need a lot of sleep
- Weight gain because you are eating more
People who go through seasonal depression during the summer may have different symptoms. Instead of eating more, they may find themselves without an appetite. You may also have trouble falling asleep. A mental health professional can help determine if your symptoms are caused by seasonal depression.
How to get treatment for seasonal depression
The type of treatment for seasonal depression recommended by your doctor or mental health specialist will depend on the severity of your symptoms. For example, those who experience the disorder during the winter could be encouraged to get more natural exposure to sunlight. If you live in a place where sunlight is scarce during the winter months, light therapy may be recommended as an alternative.
When you enter light therapy treatment, your doctor usually places you about two feet away from a light source. Sessions usually start in 10-15 minute increments. If you benefit from treatment, you can start to increase the length of your sessions.
Another treatment that is often recommended for seasonal depression is the prescription of an antidepressant. The combination of light treatment and medication may give you some relief from your disorder. More exercise, a balanced diet, and more socialization are some of the lifestyle changes that your doctor may also recommend.
Find help for seasonal depression at GIA Miami
GIA Miami offers treatment for seasonal depression and a variety of other mental health disorders. Some of the therapies and services we offer include:
- Psychological evaluation
- Mental wellness therapy
- Depression therapy
- Integral medicine and wellness
- Educational programs