If you feel sad, gloomy, or experience mood swings when the weather shifts and the days become shorter, you probably have SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Even a slight change in the season, primarily winters, can trigger a form of depression.
While experts are still not certain of the main causes of SAD, many think that change in season disrupts the circadian rhythm- a 24-hour clock regulating the function of your waking and sleeping hours. Visit AFC Urgent Care New Bedford for a diagnosis, and learn more about the general illnesses we treat.
If you also experience seasonal blues, here is everything you need to know.
Diagnosing seasonal affective disorder sometimes is not easy for mental health practitioners. It has more or less the same symptoms other depression types have. That is why doctors conduct a thorough evaluation to diagnose the symptoms of seasonal depression. Generally, it includes;
Psychological Evaluation –
Doctors usually begin treatment by asking about the specific symptoms you’re experiencing. Most of the questions aim to discover your feelings, thoughts, and behavior patterns. You may have to fill a questionnaire to answer the questions.
Physical Exam – Your physical exam may comprise a set of in-depth questions about depression and any underlying health problems.
DSM-5- The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders provides criteria to diagnose seasonal depressive episodes. Many doctors use that to make a diagnosis.
Seasonal depression may appear in early winter or late fall, with the symptoms that may worsen as winter progresses. Some of the common symptoms include;
· Feeling depressed and distressed every day
· low energy
· Losing interest in hobbies and activities
· Trouble with sleeping
· Feeling agitated, irritated, and lost
· Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
· Difficulty concentrating, attention, or focus
· Frequent suicidal thoughts
· Feeling worthless
Depending on your symptoms, your mental health professional may prescribe different treatments, including;
If you have severe symptoms, antidepressant treatment may help you overcome symptoms of seasonal depression. Bupropion, for instance, is an extended-version of medication that can treat episodes of seasonal depression. You can continue taking antidepressants until your symptoms go away.
- Light Therapy
Phototherapy or light therapy is another effective SAD treatment. It requires you to sit 2-3 feet from a lightbox. It exposes you to bright light for the first few hours after waking up each day. The light used in this therapy acts like natural light and cause changes in your brain chemicals and hormones responsible for mood swings.
Also referred to as talk therapy, it is one of the options to treat seasonal depression. It is a part of cognitive-behavioral therapy that helps people with SAD identify negative thoughts, learn effective ways to deal with depression, and manage stress.
All in all, SAD or seasonal depression is a serious mental illness, and you should not take it lightly. Thus, the article includes the most effective treatment options to help you escape seasonal blues.