There is a sudden onset of seasonal depressive episodes in the autumn or winter months that may last through the early spring and into summer. These seasonal depressive periods can last for varying lengths of time and be different each year. However, as many as two-thirds of those with seasonal affective disorder may not experience seasonal depressive episodes year round but only once every season or two when it’s colder out than usual.
The exact cause of seasonal affective disorder isn’t known, but researchers believe it’s related to seasonal variations in natural lighting which alters serotonin production, causing depressive symptoms. The condition tends to run in families where there is a history of other mood disorders such as bipolar disorder.
Here are a few tips for managing seasonal depression:
Vitamin D Supplements
With little to no sunlight, our bodies are missing out on Vitamin D. And a lack of Vitamin D has been linked to increased depression. Talk to your medical doctor about supplementing.
Light therapy (or phototherapy) is a form of therapy that is meant to replace natural rays from the sun, which have been linked to positively affecting mood.
Talk to Your Therapist
Before the change of the season, reach out to your therapist to talk about coping skills and medication options as a way to treat seasonal depression.
Seek Peer Support
Connect with others who are going through similar issues. Connecting with others has been shown to improve feelings of depression and anxiety.