Seasonal depression or “seasonal affective disorder” (SAD) is a mental health issue triggered by a change of season. In most cases, people become depressed during the fall and winter seasons. As a result, many people seek help at a mental health treatment program. With therapy, a person who has the winter blues can overcome depression and adjust to the cold season without suffering from a disorder.
SAD is more than just dreading the cold weather. It is a condition that is characterized by deep depression, sadness, loneliness, despair, or low energy. If you have SAD, you may feel moody throughout the season. Nothing specific has to trigger your depression. You may just walk around feeling gloomy all the time. The emotional weight follows you around at work, school, or home.
What Are the Symptoms of Seasonal Depression?
SAD affects each person differently. Some people may become depressed, while others experience anxiety or stress. Common symptoms of SAD include:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Hopelessness or guilt
- Difficulty concentrating
- Low energy
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Low interest in activities
The overriding symptom is an overall feeling of depression and sadness. If you are depressed throughout the winter, you may resort to oversleeping or overeating. Another symptom of SAD is addiction. You may turn to alcohol or drugs as a way of coping with depression or anxiety. If you have an addiction, you can get help at Sunflower Wellness Retreat.
Possible Causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder
Treatment specialists have difficulty pinpointing the cause of seasonal depression and recommending the right depression treatment. Diagnosis and treatment are usually recommended based on symptoms that are similar to regular depression or anxiety. Although more research is needed to understand the condition, many treatment professionals attribute SAD to causes such as:
Your Internal Clock
Your body responds differently to changes in climate. If you don’t get out much during the winter, the lack of sunlight can disrupt your body’s biological clock. Another consideration is brain patterns that occur at certain times of the year. Your chemical makeup may be wired to go into a depressed state during the winter.
Melatonin levels are typically highest during the spring and summer when you are outdoors more. The winter can put you indoors more and decrease your melatonin levels. The drop in melatonin can lead to an imbalance, as melatonin plays a role in your mood and sleeping pattern.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that produces feelings of pleasure in the brain. As with melatonin, serotonin levels drop during the winter because you spend more time indoors. Lower levels of serotonin can trigger SAD.
How Seasonal Depression Leads to Relapse
Once you complete your substance abuse treatment program, you need to safeguard yourself against triggers that can lead to relapse. Like any other form of depression, seasonal depression can affect your mental health and lead to relapse. If you are unaware of why you are depressed, you may want to consult your therapist.
Scheduling a few therapy sessions may help you discover a part of your depression that you never knew existed. Please speak with your therapist about your symptoms, when your depression began, and how long it lasts. They may diagnose you with SAD and provide the right treatment to help you manage the symptoms of your condition.
Depression Treatment Available at Sunflower Wellness Retreat
If you are struggling with addiction due to seasonal depression, contact Sunflower Wellness Retreat by calling 855.730.8825 or completing our secure online form. We provide a comprehensive drug addiction treatment program that can help you get clean and stay clean. Call us today to find out more about your treatment options. We are here to help you get on the road to recovery.