Seasonal depression is also known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. This typically happens during the winter when we are locked in our homes for a few days. With seasonal depression syndrome, people start feeling a sense of being confined to their homes, with no sun exposure due to the cold cloudy days. It is a form of depression that is associated with the change in seasons and occurs at the same time every year.
Minimal exposures can lead your hormones to get out of sync. Which can potentially lead to:
· Poor concentration
· Not feeling well
· Decrease in Serotonin
· Decrease in Dopamine
· Low Vitamin D
· Minimum light
· Over eating: mostly carbs
· Gaining weight
The risk factors that increase your risk of developing seasonal affective disorder include:
· Being female. It is more common for women to be affected by SAD than men. However, men may have more-severe symptoms.
· Age. Young people have a higher risk of winter SAD, and winter SAD is less likely to occur in older adults.
· Family history. You are at a higher risk for developing SAD if you have a family member who has had SAD or another form of depression.
· Having clinical depression or bipolar disorder. Symptoms of depression may worsen seasonally if you have one of these conditions.
· Living far from the equator. It is more common for people to develop SAD in areas that are located further from the equator. This may be due to the fact that there is less sunlight during the winter and longer days during the summer months.
How can you fight seasonal depression?
Every year people are faced with seasonal depression syndrome and are left with the question, “what can we do to improve it?” First, we need to recognize that this is a real depression and this is quite different than feeling like you don’t want to go to work. This includes feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day, feeling hopeless or worthless, having low energy, losing interest in activities you once enjoyed, having problems with sleeping, experiencing changes in your appetite or weight, feeling sluggish or agitated, or having difficulty concentrating.
Before running off and making an appointment with a psychiatrist, see if alternative medicine such as herbal remedies or lifestyle changes can help. Here are some recommendations:
· 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP): natural amino acid that is sold over the counter
· Vitamin D3: recommended 2000 units daily, however, this is contingent on your vitamin D levels.
· Speak with your doctor to have lab work done to see if you are deficient in areas
· Exercising and keeping a healthy lifestyle will also increase your serotonin and dopamine levels.