As we head towards the end of fall and into winter, seasonal depression is on the rise.
Let's review some of the signs of seasonal depression, why people get seasonal depression and things you can do to help.
What are the signs of seasonal depression? Feeling sad, tearful, low energy, irritable, hopeless, trouble falling a sleep or sleeping too much, decrease in sex drive, changes in appetite, thoughts of suicide.
So what is seasonal depression? This happens mostly in the fall and winter, however it can happen in spring and summer. This is the body's response to not getting enough (Serotonin) sunlight. Our bodies naturally make melatonin, this is a hormone that is produced in our brains to help up sleep. Studies have shown that people who have seasonal depression have higher levels of melatonin during the winter. I personally have seasonal depression and daylight saving sends me over the edge and into a full on seasonal depression. That is because our biological clock plays a part in seasonal depression because we lose hours of sunlight and our bodies kick up the melatonin.
What are some things that you can do to help decrease the symptoms of seasonal depression?
Get outside. That is right, rain or shine, get out there!! Light cardio is great. I walk everyday during my lunch break. Supplemental vitamin D can be wonderful, so talk to your health care provider. For my patients I suggest a “Happy Light'.' These are fairly inexpensive online. If you need help with financial resources please contact your health insurance and ask about a program called flex funds, oftentimes, this is a resource that will help cover the cost. There are also medications that can help you get through the seasonal depression. Know that you are not alone in seasonal depression, studies show that 5% of people suffer from seasonal depression.