Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder this Winter
As October draws to an end, the clocks have gone back and whilst the changing colours in the leaves are a beautiful sight to behold; one thing is for certain – people dread Winter.
For many people they become increasingly depressed and melancholy throughout this difficult time of the year. In fact some individuals suffer from something called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
This type of depression carries with it a heavy burden of symptoms such as; weight gain, trouble socializing, loss of focus and a stronger desire to sleep more.
SAD affects half a million people in the U.S. each year, for those who struggle with seasonal depression means a major change in mood and behaviour.
The cause of seasonal affective disorder is believed to be due to an imbalance in the brain’s biochemical process as a result of not getting enough sunlight during the winter months.
Another factor that contributes to this kind of depression is the hormone melatonin. The body’s production of melatonin escalates in the dark. Naturally, as the hours of sunlight are shortened the production of melatonin goes into full gear.
What Can You Do About SAD?
Several strategies can be implemented in treating SAD using a mostly holistic approach. Sometimes several, combined methods are used while other times one method alone may be just the thing.
1. Talking Therapies
During psychodynamic psychotherapy you discuss how you feel about yourself and others and talk about experiences in your past. The aim of the sessions is to find out whether anything in your past is affecting how you feel today. (NHS Advice)
2. Using Light Therapy
Phototherapy, typically a light therapy box, is a process that uses light to change brain wave activity and stimulate a more positive mood.
3. Taking Antidepressant Medication
Antidepressants are formally known as SSRI’s (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors). SSRI’s are designed to increase serotonin production and restore it to a healthier level.
4. Becoming More Active
It can be difficult to get the exercise during the cold months, however, if you can manage to get even a little fitness routine going then it can really aid in fighting off depression.
5. Being Mindful Of Your Diet
Two major culprits of seasonal depression include caffeine and alcohol.