How to overcome seasonal depression: doctors' advice
On gloomy and cold winter days, we look forward to the awakening of nature and the arrival of spring. For many, this is a time of renewal and hope for the best. However, not everyone experiences the arrival of spring in a positive way. It is often during these transitional periods that certain illnesses are exacerbated, such as seasonal depression, an affective disorder whose symptoms appear and disappear with the change of seasons.
Typically, depression exacerbations occur in autumn and winter, but sometimes they can occur only in spring and persist until summer. After consulting with psychologist Matthew Boland, PhD, Healthline has discussed the causes and ways to overcome the disorder.
What are the symptoms of seasonal depression?
Spring depression is less common than winter depression, but their manifestations are similar, although they manifest themselves in different ways. For example, most people complain of:
Bad mood, including sadness and hopelessness;
Decreased interest in daily activities;
Decreased energy reserves;
Lack of motivation;
Increased appetite or weight loss;
Problems with concentration and memory;
Agitation or irritation;
Anger and anger;
Thoughts of death or suicide.
Causes of spring depression
Experts attribute the worsening of depression in winter to a lack of sunlight, but it turns out that the arrival of spring can also spoil some people's mood. Although there is no single cause for the disorder, experts have identified potential triggers.
Increased daylight hours and heat
An increase in sunlight can disrupt the circadian rhythms that the body is used to and disrupt the biological rhythm of activity and rest. This can lead to mood swings and increased irritability or anxiety.
Warm days can be uncomfortable if you usually feel unwell in hot weather, and excessive sunlight can keep your brain on high alert.
Imbalance of brain chemicals
The human brain produces many substances responsible for mood and emotional state. An exacerbation of spring depression may be associated with a change in these processes. For example, an increase in sunlight causes a decrease in the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for your sleep. Regular sleep deprivation can exacerbate symptoms of depression. At the same time, according to scientists, excessive amounts of serotonin, a chemical produced by natural light, can trigger anxiety disorders.
Seasonal allergies can also affect the emotional state. For example, the results of a study indicate that there is a link between days with high pollen concentrations in the air and mood deterioration in people with symptoms of spring or summer depression.
In addition, some factors may increase the risk of seasonal depression.
Gender. Women are more prone to spring depression, but men have more severe symptoms.
Heredity. Having close relatives with seasonal depression increases the risk of its recurrence.
Bipolar disorder. A history of bipolar disorder can increase sensitivity to changes in spring circadian rhythms and lead to depression.
Work schedule. If your job varies with the seasons, the lack of a familiar structure or additional stress can cause changes in sleep, mood, and emotional state.
How to overcome spring depression?
If the symptoms of your depression interfere with your life and professional activities, you should seek professional help. The following methods can be used to alleviate the symptoms:
Cognitive behavioural therapy: an approach that involves learning techniques that identify unwanted thoughts and eliminate them.
Interpersonal therapy: helps to explore problems in the personal or professional sphere that lead to the development of depression.
Medication therapy: in some cases, a doctor may prescribe antidepressants to help alleviate the symptoms of the disorder.
In addition, following simple rules in everyday life can also help reduce discomfort.
Get plenty of rest. Regular sleep deprivation can affect your emotional health. Go to bed at the same time and make sure your resting place is comfortable and cosy.
Be physically active. Regular exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety and improve sleep.
Balance your diet. A common symptom of spring depression is loss of appetite. However, a lack of nutrients can lead to excessive irritability and decreased concentration, so eating right is important not only for physical but also for mental health.
Get support from your family. Help from family or friends can be helpful, even if it's just listening to you or being there for you.
Seek reassurance. Try to find a way to make yourself feel better. Meditation or art therapy can help distract you and help you accept and work through negative emotions, including depression.
Spring is a short period of time, but it can have a negative impact on your life and performance. If you are emotionally sensitive to the change of seasons, try to follow the advice of experts who can help prevent seasonal exacerbation.
Earlier, OBOZREVATEL talked about ways to overcome autumn depression. Experts advised to move more, catch daylight, and seek help in time.
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