Do you feel sad in cold weather? Why does the feeling of hopelessness prevail with the start of winter? The seasonal affective disorder might be the reason behind such a condition. It is a mental health problem that is similar to non-seasonal depression but appears as weather changes. So how can you identify and deal with this problem? We will help you get these answers in this article.
How To Identify Seasonal Depression?
The symptoms of seasonal depression may vary from person to person. However, there are some common ones that appear in most people. In people with SAD, symptoms worsen in December-February and decrease in March-April. In the section below, experts point out some of the subtle features of SAD.
1. You Feel Sad During The Winter Months
The signs of seasonal depression are more prominent during the cold season. A person feels sad without any reason, and suicidal thoughts come to his mind. He feels that nothing good will ever happen, and a feeling of hopelessness prevails over him. Cold weather brings along a feeling of sadness and despair for them. It is the first and one of the important signs of seasonal affective disorder.
2. You Rely On Alcoholic Beverages To Feel Better
When experiencing bouts of sadness, many people tend to rely on alcoholic beverages. This is because they believe that these drinks will help them feel better. However, they forget alcohol itself is a stressor and causes mental breakdown. Thus, if you notice that your loved one is consuming alcohol frequently, it may indicate depression.
It is better to consult a specialist to deal with this co-occurring disorder timely. Usually, longer treatment programs are preferred for dealing with these dual problems. So you can also take the assistance of a 90-day rehab program to help your loved one fight addiction and depression.
3. Your Appetite Changes
Changes in your eating habits will also reflect the development of SAD. Changing eating habits does not refer to refusal to eat, but on the other hand, such a person wants to eat more. Such people tend to rely on fast food and other fatty foods to suppress their cravings.
Thus, we can conclude that SAD triggers the appetite of an individual and makes him overeat. However, with increasing frequency and the desire to eat more, people also gain weight. If you are suffering from a similar condition, go to a doctor immediately.
4. You Feel Tired Even After Sleeping
When fatigue and sleepiness become a part of your life, it may indicate depression. In such a situation, the need for additional relaxation during the day is not uncommon for you. And there is also severe drowsiness after a long rest. If this continues for several continuous days, it is an alarming symptom that requires instant attention
5. You Are Becoming More Irritable
Do little things bother you? Do you want to get away from work to the quiet corner of your home and explode if your partner forgets to wash the dish? Mood swings, anger, short temper, and irritability are common signs that you are suffering from SAD. You would need the help of a professional to get rid of this irritating situation.
6. You Find It Difficult To Focus On Anything
People who have depression feel like they do not have control over anything. In such a condition, a person with physical fatigue also experiences mental fatigue. As a result, you will find it difficult to make quick decisions and think clearly. All brain reactions slow down and seem to become non-functional. It is a clear sign of depression that needs to be addressed.
How To Handle This Situation?
If the above symptoms interfere with your daily life, it’s time to sound the alarm. Some serious illnesses (such as thyroid problems and anemia) have symptoms that are similar to seasonal depression. Your doctor will be able to diagnose the possible causes before eliminating them or starting treatment.
Tips To Manage Seasonal Depression
If everything points to seasonal depression, here are a few ways to deal with this disorder:
Try To Get More Sunlight: People with SAD have an ultra-sensitive biological clock – it quickly gets off with a decrease in the dose of sunlight.
Spending More Time Outdoors: Even a gray, dreary winter day provides 5-10 times more light than bright office lighting. If you can’t get natural sunlight, try using a light therapy lamp (also known as a SAD lamp). It emits intense artificial light that mimics street light.
Make A Sleep Schedule: Maintaining a healthy and consistent sleep pattern helps improve well-being. This means that you cannot go to bed either late or early, stretching or minimizing sleep.
Tighten Your Body: Exercise is easier said than done when you feel helpless and lethargic. But even simple exercises like walking in place, light yoga, or walking the dog can make a difference. Just going down the stairs and going outside will give you the opportunity to warm up and bask in the sun a bit.
Have A Varied Diet: The goal is not to eliminate or add certain foods but to balance the diet and improve overall well-being. You may crave fatty foods due to SAD. It is not prohibited, but you cannot fill your stomach with them only. Stay on track during the winter months, diversify your food and control your appetite.
Stay In Touch With Loved Ones: The pandemic has made secure communication a problem. Talking on a phone with a person you like or video chatting can really help improve your mental health. You can also visit your parents and spend some time with them.
Talk To A Psychotherapist: If you’re having trouble, consider making an appointment with a mental health professional. He will be able to listen to you, analyze your feelings, and, if necessary, suggest possible treatment options.
Read the above article carefully to learn more about seasonal depression, its symptoms, and tips to deal with it.