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Seasonal Depression

You don’t have to settle for low moods and decreased motivation for three or four months out of the year. Getting you to your peak mental health all year round is the goal of your psychiatrist at Online Psychiatrists in New Jersey, New York and Florida. Seasonal affective disorder is a time-sensitive mental condition that’s successfully treated. You can have in-person or online sessions through the advanced technology of video conferencing. Evening and weekend appointments are available if you need them. Call for an appointment.

What Is Seasonal Depression?

Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD as it’s commonly called, is a type of depression that you get every year at about the same time. While many shrug it off as winter blues, this depression has a bigger impact on your daily life. It seems to be related to the level of sunlight you get, and so it usually occurs during the fall or winter months. A rare form crops up during the spring or early summer in some people, though.

Most sufferers are between 20 and 30 years old. The risk of SAD increases the further you live from the equator. Seasonal depression affects about five percent of Americans, and four out five are women.

The depression is easily treatable, but you need to consult a psychiatric specialist at the first sign of your symptoms. Through Online Psychiatrists in New York, New Jersey and Florida, you have access to exceptional psychotherapy treatment for seasonal depression. You can even choose to get treated remotely through video conferencing and telepsychiatry.

Do I Have SAD?

Seasonal depression symptoms usually follow similar patterns as other depression disorders. The main difference is that symptoms usually disappear when the weather changes. Common symptoms to look out for include:

  • Feeling depressed every day, most of the time
  • Losing interest in doing things you once loved
  • Having low energy levels
  • Developing sleep problems
  • Noticing changes in your appetite
  • Gaining or losing weight
  • Feeling sluggish and agitated
  • Concentrating becomes difficult
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
  • Thinking frequently about death
  • Entertaining thoughts of suicide

If your seasonal depression is caused because of the lack of sunlight in the fall or winter season, then you may also:

  • Oversleep
  • Crave foods with high carbohydrate contents
  • Gain weight
  • Feel tired and have low energy levels

When your seasonal depression is caused by changes in the weather associated with spring or summer, you may experience:

What Are the Causes of Seasonal Depression?

Your circadian rhythms may malfunction when the winter months bring longer nights and shorter days. This is nothing more than disruptions to the biological clock that maintains your sleep-wake cycle. Changes between light and dark regulate your sleep, mood and appetite. Disrupting your internal clock causes grogginess, disorientation and wanting to sleep at odd hours. Other triggers that can cause seasonal depression include:

Serotonin levels govern your moods, while melatonin regulates sleep and mood patterns. A decrease in the serotonin levels or any disruption in the melatonin levels can lead to seasonal depression. In fact, it’s been observed that spring and summer brings on mania, while fall and winter triggers severe depression in those with manic depression.

How Does Seasonal Depression Treatment Work?

From your very first psychotherapy session, you start feeling better as your therapist suggests changes you can make at home to lessen the symptoms, such as:

  • Opening the curtains and removing any obstructions blocking the sunlight provides you with more light that you need to fight your depression.
  • Another suggestion is to sit closer to an open window to absorb the warm rays of the sun at home and work.
  • You can also purchase specially designed electric lights that mimic sunlight.

Effective talk therapy sessions provide you with the tools to sort through your thoughts, feelings, physical actions and sensations. You learn new tools to keep your mood and your energy levels up when you start recognizing negative changes in your mood patterns. Talk therapy takes many forms, depending on the severity of your symptoms and your preferences. Treatment options include:

  • Cognitive behavior therapy is an effective seasonal depression treatment that teaches you effective coping mechanisms.
  • Integrative therapy takes into account your total mind and body health. Integrative therapy provides information and teaches accountability for developing a healthier lifestyle.
  • Interpersonal therapy delves deeper into your background to uncover situations and trauma that may underlie your depression.

Occasionally, medication is needed, especially when you also have co-occurring disorders like generalized anxiety disorder or panic attacks. Both talk therapy and medication management are available remotely through Online Psychiatrists. Contact the practice today for an appointment in New Jersey, New York or Florida.

Updated on Nov 19, 2021 by Dr. Zlatin Ivanov (Psychiatrist ) of Online Psychiatrists

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