Are You in Winter Depression?
Do you hear about the Winter Depression? Are you suffering from this? The Winter Depression is a type of depression related to winter season i.e. it is seen in the onset of winter. Actually, it is the mental health issue related to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of mental disorder related to seasons – some people are depressed in summer season and feel good in winter and some people are struggling with depression in winter season. In Winter Depression people are struggling with their persistent sadness and severe mood disorder.
Causes of Winter Depression
The causes of depression in winter season is mainly due to lack of sunlight as sunlight is controlling the Circadian Rhythm of our body. The circadian rhythm is actually the biological clock of our body- the physical, mental and behavioral changes in an organism that repeats after 24 hours cycle. Darkness and light have immense influence in our the internal clock of our body i.e. the circadian rhythm. In winter season, the circadian rhythm of our body is slower due to lack of sunlight and so our body produces too much Melatonin, the sleep hormone. Due to this increased level of Melatonin, we feel low, lethargic and have less interest in our daily chores or previously preferred activities.
Moreover, it also decreases the secretion of Serotonin, the Happy Hormone that affects our mood. That’s why, we feel sadness, low level of energy and depressed in winter times. Not only those sometimes we feel Winter Depression due to genetic reasons and the prevalence of other mental health issues.
Signs and Symptoms of Winter Depression
The signs and symptoms of this type of depression is not different from general depression, only the difference here is that this type of depression is associated with the winter season only. The common signs and symptoms are
. Mood Disorder- frequent mood changes.
. Feeling Low, Worthless and Hopeless.
. Changes in Sleep and also in Appetite
. Loss interest on daily activities and also previously enjoyed activities.
. Difficulty in Cognitive Functioning like Thinking, Decision making or Focusing.
.Slowed Speech or Motion
.Prefer to stay Alone leading to Social Isolation and Social withdrawal.
.Sometimes increase in purpose less activities are seen
In extreme cases the Winter Depression may lead someone to Self harm or Suicide. So we need to create awareness among people regarding this mental health issue related to depression and seasonal changes.
Ways to Deal with Winter Depression
To deal with winter depression, we need to first Know, Accept and Acknowledge our difficulties and be ready to fight to overcome those. It’s not a matter of shame, guilt or neglect but a matter that needs our immediate attention and concern. A Study showed that 4-6 percent people have severe depression in winter season and another 10-20 percent have mild SAD. It is seen more in women than men and also it is seen some teenagers and children. Some effective ways to deal with Winter Depression are stated below.
Stay in Sunlight
As the lack of sunlight is the main reason of Winter Depression, the people with this issue may spend more and more time in sunlight as it will increase the secretion of serotonin and decreases the level of melatonin in body. Then the Circadian Rhythm of body will also in normal state and people will feel better. So, everyday you need to spend some time in sunlight especially in the morning and also make your living room, study space or work space more and more sunnier and brighter.
Take Outdoor Exercise
If you take outdoor exercise like taking a long walk, jogging in field or running in the park or others, you will surely feel good and happier. Because regular exercises will surely lower down the stress hormones in your body and outdoor exercise will give you more exposure to sunlight resulting in decreased level of melatonin and more level of “Feel Good Factors” like Endorphins in your body and help you surely to overcome your Winter Depression.
Follow a Sleep Cycle
As in Winter Depression, you feel always sleepy, lethargic and sad; you need to follow a Sleep Cycle i.e. everyday you should go to sleep at a fixed time and wake up also at a fixed time. If you feel sleepy in between those hours, you try to engage yourself in some works or you can talk to your friends or family members. Here by taking extra effort you can normalize your Circadian Rhythm to a great extent and thus beat your depression.
In extreme cases of Winter Depression you may take the light therapy where you are exposed to bright artificial light from a source. Generally Light Boxes are used for light therapy or specialized light therapy bulbs are used and light coming from those mimics the outdoor light. Light therapy here may cause a change in the different hormone levels of body and also in chemical factors of brain resulting in better mood and good energy level in body.
But we must talk with our healthcare provider like psychiatrist before taking light therapy and he\she must prescribe the intensity of bulb or light and duration of taking light therapy as too much or too long exposure to light therapy may create other problems or worsen the condition.
Push Yourself to be Active
Sometimes we need to push ourselves to do something, to engage in some activities so that we can make us active and an active lifestyle is always act as the best medicine to overcome our depression including the Winter Depression. Generally, we are less active in winter season due to cold weather and this idleness always make us sad, overthinker and depressed. So, we need to make our mindset to push ourselves to lead an active life and beat the depression.
Words from Wingsofwishes.in
Healthy diet, meditation, yoga are also beneficial to overcome the Winter Depression. In extreme cases, the persons having this issue can take the professional support and care. The Cognitive Therapy, Psychotherapy, Light Therapy etc. associated with medications are really effective to beat the Winter Depression. Only we need to create awareness among people regarding this mental health issue so that they can get proper treatment and care.
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