26 August, 2019
Seasons keep changing and so do human minds. We often talk about our favourite season and the ones which we dislike. But beyond the likes and dislikes, seasons can leave a deeper impact on human minds. Have you ever woke up in the morning and simply waited for the day to end so that you can go back to bed? If yes, then you are one among those millions of people who are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) every year in India. Here is what you need to know about seasonal depression, its symptoms, causes and treatment methods.
As its name suggests, Seasonal Affective Disorder is a kind of seasonal depression that is resulted by change in seasons. It is most common during winters due to which it is also known as winter blues. Before we get into the depths, let us first have a look at some of the statistics regarding seasonal depression. According to Mental Health America,
● Women are more likely to suffer from seasonal depression when compared to men. It is four times more prevalent in women than in men.
● Symptoms appear mostly in between 20 and 30 years of age.
● Mood disorders can happen even in summers or any other season. But these are less common. Winter SAD is the most common seasonal depression
● About 5 percent of people are known to suffer from seasonal depression in a year.
How do you know you are suffering from Seasonal Depression?
Mood swings are quite normal and many of us don't really pay much attention to it. But, if the mood disorders follow a periodic pattern of coming in a particular season and disappearing in the other, you might be suffering from seasonal depression. Following are a few symptoms of seasonal depression-
● Lack of energy: You feel tired every time and want nothing else but to be in bed.
● No motivation: You feel helpless and find it difficult to set a goal.
● Guilty feeling: You curse yourself and feel guilty for no reason. You might have done nothing wrong but still end up feeling bad about yourself.
● Prefer being alone: In some seasons, particularly with the onset of winters, you suddenly don't want to go out meet your friends or anyone else. All you want to do is stay in your room all alone.
● More prone to physical ailments: A person suffering from seasonal depression will be more prone to the physical illnesses that the season brings with it.
Apart from these, other symptoms of depression are also seen in people with Seasonal Affective Disorder.
What Triggers Seasonal Depression?
On seeing my otherwise active friend less energetic and moody, I called up and asked her, “What is it with you?” She hung up saying, “It's just the weather.” It is quite common to experience mood swings and change in sleep patterns with change in seasons. But when these changes start to affect your everyday life, you should be more cautious. The actual cause of seasonal depression is still under research. The two possible causes of seasonal depression are as follows:
● Circadian rhythm disorders: The 24-hour biological cycle determines not just our waking and sleeping patterns but also the way we behave in between the day. External factors like sunlight and temperature affect the circadian rhythm which can make us feel drowsy and moody all day long. Circadian rhythm is responsible for brain wave activity, hormone production and other biological functions in human body. Vitamin D plays a vital role in syncing the 24-hour body clock. Hence, its deficiency in winters may lead to circadian rhythm disorders which is one of the possible reasons people experience seasonal depression.
● Lower levels of serotonin in winters: Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that affects our mood. Reduced sunlight decreases serotonin level which leads to mood disorders.
● Hormonal imbalance: Seasonal changes can result in an imbalance of melatonin levels in human body. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep. Melatonin production increases in darkness. As the days get shorter during winter, melatonin is overproduced in the body which causes the person to feel tired and sleepy all the time.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is treatable. The most important part of the treatment includes the recognition of symptoms. Once you know that it's not just the weather but seasonal depression, you can seek immediate help. It's always good to talk to an expert and seek guidance before the condition worsens. Consolace counselling services in Trivandrum can be contacted for any kind of queries or counselling related assistance. Give depression a tough fight, stay strong!