Winter is known for holiday cheer, but for some, it is a time of heightened depression. You may have already felt the onset of a depressive episode, or you know one is to come based on years past. Why do depression symptoms get worse during the winter? Is there anything you can do to combat these effects? Let’s take a closer look at winter depression and some of the sources behind it.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Some people experience a form of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It occurs when the seasons change. For most, the depression symptoms begin in the fall and get worse during the winter. They begin to subside once the spring hits. This is not the case for everyone though.
Seasonal Affective Disorder treatment is slightly different than traditional depression treatment. It involves counseling and sometimes medication, but it may also involve light therapy and other treatments from a doctor. If you think you may have SAD, contact Oakland Psychological Clinic to schedule a psychological evaluation. This will provide a confirmed diagnosis, and then you can pursue the appropriate treatment.
Daylight Savings Time
In November, the clocks are turned back for one hour. It gets darker earlier in the evening, which may alter a person’s mood. Combine this with the reduced sunlight that occurs in the winter and the typically overcast days, and you have a rather gloomy setting to look forward to. Limited sun exposure can decrease a person’s serotonin levels, which contribute to feelings of happiness. All of this can enhance depression in the winter.
The holidays are just as stressful as they are joyous. For some, this is a time when they are reminded of friends and family members who are no longer around. For others, the holiday is a time of financial and emotional strain. Since Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and other holidays occur during the winter, this time of year is particularly hard for some people.
The End of the Year
The winter also marks the end of the year. This is a time when most people reflect on the changes they have made and the changes they want to see in the future. That reflection may be coupled with regret though. “I didn’t do this…I didn’t do that. I feel so unaccomplished.” If you are in that mindset right now, focus on what you did accomplish this year. There is plenty to be proud of if you look hard enough.
How to Improve Depression Symptoms in the Winter
The best way to relieve depression symptoms in any season is by talking to a counselor. Working with a therapist one-on-one will help you find solutions that fit your lifestyle, experiences, feelings and goals. If your depression symptoms get worse in the winter, talk to your therapist abut that. He or she will help you get to the root cause of winter depression so you can tackle it from the source.
To schedule an appointment with a depression therapist near you, contact Oakland Psychological Clinic.