While the holiday season can be a source of joy and positive reflection, it can also be a difficult time for many to navigate. With less sunlight during the day and colder temperatures, some people do not respond well to the transition into the winter. This phenomena is no yearly coincidence, but rather an experience validated by medical professionals.
Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder, known colloquially as “the winter blues”, typically appear in the late fall- although, for some, symptoms may present themselves during the summer or early fall. Affected parties experience a variety of changes that are commonly associated with depression- even if one has never been diagnosed with the disorder. According to the Cleveland Clinic, 5% of American adults fall victim each year.
Scientists have not come up with a sure-fire way to detect or prevent SAD before symptoms appear, but sufferers may find hope in knowing that a diagnosis may not be lifelong. Exposing oneself to natural light, increasing their vitamin D intake, or participating in therapy or a medication plan with a psychiatrist have proven to be effective in battling the mental illness.
Have you been under the weather and suspect that something deeper may be going on? If any of these behaviors or feelings are suddenly present, it may be time to seek the advice of a mental health professional:
Feelings of hopelessness
Feelings of sadness during most of the day every day
Loss of interest in pleasurable activities or hobbies
Withdrawing from social life