Do I Have Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Some people enjoy the changing seasons, feeling as though it is their opportunity for a fresh start. Others may feel as though their entire routine is thrown off with the changing weather, sending them into a rut. For some, though, the struggles they deal with as the seasons change can be so much more.
Seasonal affective disorder, otherwise known as seasonal depression, is a form of depression that comes and goes with a specific season. While all of us experience our highs and lows with season changes, some people experience lows so intense; it begins to take a toll on their quality of life.
Seasonal depression most commonly occurs in the fall and winter months, although it can also happen in the summer and spring. If you experience a low mood during a certain time of the year, only to find that it fades as the seasons change, you may want to ask a counselor if you have seasonal affective disorder.
Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder
The symptoms of seasonal affective disorder may be here one season and gone the next- only to appear the next year. Symptoms of seasonal affective disorder can be similar to those experienced with depression. These symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- A loss of interest or motivation to do the things you used to enjoy
- Social withdrawal
- Changes in eating and sleeping habits
- Feeling hopeless, guilty, or worthless
- Low moods
- Foggy mind
- Thoughts of suicide or death. (If you believe you are in danger of suicide, call 911 immediately.)
How to Help Someone with Seasonal Depression
If you believe that you or someone you love is struggling with seasonal depression, there are a few things you can do to help. Winter-onset seasonal depression is believed to be caused by a decrease in sunlight. Therefore, exposure to sunlight may be just the thing you or your loved one needs to begin to feel better. You can catch some extra sunlight this winter season by:
- Getting outside as much as possible during the day
- Maximizing sunlight in your work and home environments
- Finding lamps intended to imitate sunlight
However, the most important thing you can do for a loved one dealing with seasonal depression is support them and validate the feelings they are experiencing. Seasonal depression is difficult to deal with, and it is important for one to know they do not have to suffer in silence. As they open up to you, suggesting counseling may just help them begin their journey to healing.
Treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder
If you believe that you are struggling with seasonal depression, know that you don’t have to wait for the next season for some relief. Treatments like light therapy, talk therapy, and antidepressants have been shown to be extremely helpful in alleviating the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.
Do not suffer through seasonal depression in silence. There is help out there for you. At Michigan Psychological Care, we would like to be that help. Contact us today.
Keywords: how to help someone with seasonal depression, seasonal affective disorder, counselor