If wintertime finds you feeling blue, or you get an empty feeling around the same time each year, you may suffer from a condition known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It affects many people--an estimated 5-10% of the population--each year. No one knows exactly why, but SAD affects women four times more than it does men and strikes for the first time when you are between 20 and 30 years old.
At Harbor Community Health Centers in San Pedro, California, you have access to a skilled and experienced team of doctors who specialize in emotional and psychological issues. Let’s take a closer look at what seasonal depression is, the symptoms, and how our team treats it.
What is seasonal depression?
As the seasons change, typically from fall to winter, some people fall victim to an unexplainable sadness and chronic low mood. It’s a mental health condition that’s related to two disorders: bipolar and major depressive. While there are no specific causes, some researchers report that the condition is associated with shorter days when sunlight is limited, while others link it to reduced melatonin production in your body.
What are the symptoms of seasonal depression?
The symptoms of seasonal depression are almost identical to those of nonseasonal depression, but they come on predictively around the same time each year. They include:
- Lack of energy
- Excessive sleeping
- Low energy
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Weight gain
- Easily distracted
- Heaving feeling in your arms and legs
- Thoughts of death or suicide
People that suffer from seasonal depression often withdraw from social activities, which worsens their lonely feelings.
How is seasonal depression treated?
At Harbor Community Health Centers, we successfully use psychotherapy to treat your seasonal depression. Psychotherapy combines cognitive behavioral therapy and evidence-based practices to talk about your issues to help you implement new behaviors and coping skills
Other treatments that are effective for seasonal depression are bright light therapy and antidepressant medications. When you meet with our team, your doctor talks with you about your health history and symptoms and crafts a custom plan to meet your needs.
If you’re feeling the debilitating effects of seasonal affective disorder or seasonal depression, reach out for help from one of our compassionate providers. Call our office in San Pedro, or request an appointment online. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts and need help immediately, please call 911 right now.