With winter in full swing one can often slip into a state of depression, this condition is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). A fitting acronym for the feeling brought on by a time of year that finds many people feeling down. While SAD is generally associated with darker months, it can affect people in any season. Depending upon geographical location, some areas see very little sunlight and are forced indoors due to weather conditions. Call it cabin fever but for others, it is a seasonal way of life. However, even in the harshest of months, there are signs to look for and solutions to brighten your mind-state.
The causalities of depression are widely varied, in the instance of SAD there are some unique origins that can create the problem. While not specifically related to seasonal depression, these biological factors have been closely linked to mood changes in different seasons.
Serotonin is a chemical neurotransmitter that has been tied to the “happy” response in the brain. Unbalanced serotonin levels have long been researched for depression and other mood disorders. Serotonin not only regulates the mind but also appetite, sleep patterns and a myriad of bodily functions.
A good night’s rest goes a long way towards mental health, melatonin is a natural hormone meant to regulate sleep patterns. It works by coinciding with daylight and darkness, helping you receive proper mental and physical rest. Drastic changes in light during the seasons can throw off the balance of melatonin and disrupt proper sleep patterns.
Vitamin D Deficiency
While there are supplements and food sources for vitamin-D, the best way to get it is from the sun. This can be a challenge in the darker months and with shorter days it can be difficult to expose yourself to enough sunshine. Make time to get outside and soak in some sun, it’s an easy way to boost your mood.
If you are wondering whether you are suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder or not, take a look at these signs and symptoms. They can start out gradual and worsen over time, try to make staying aware of your mental health a priority. If you recognize this as SAD, make some lifestyle changes to improve the difficult times.
SAD Signs and Symptoms:
- Continuous depression relating to the time of year
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Hopeless thoughts
- Loss of energy
- Over Sleeping
- Sleep deprivation
- Appetite changes or weight gain
- Difficulty concentrating
Therapy can be a great tool for depressed mindstates. Simply talking with someone whether it be a friend, family or a professional is a great place to start.
These are things you can do every day and while they may seem simple, their impacts are large. Eating healthy meals, exercising regularly, getting outside and being around people who care about you are all easy ways to help yourself.
With depression at all-time highs, there are a number of medication options. Some work for different people and others do not. At Baltimore Ketamine we are taking a modern approach to combat this disorder with ketamine. It has been shown to work rapidly in many patients, which is paramount when it comes to SAD and it’s onset time.
If other anti-depressants haven’t worked and you are looking for an alternative. Visit Baltimore Ketamine for a consultation to see how we may help. If the winter gets you down, we would be happy to help you get back on track.