As the winter months start, the days get shorter, and the weather gets colder, many people feel the effects in their mood and daily patterns. Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as Major Depressive Disorder with Seasonal Pattern in the DSM-5, is a condition that, “effects 0.5 to 3 percent of individuals in the general population; it affects 10 to 20 percent of people with major depressive disorder and about 25 percent of people with bipolar disorder” (medineplus.gov). Causes may include a reduction in serotonin and an increase in melatonin the winter months, as well as lower vitamin D.
Signs to Look Out For
-Feeling sad or depressed
-Trouble with concentration and motivation
-Lack of energy
-Low motivation and trouble concentrating
-Irritability or agitation
Seasonal Affective Disorder is highly treatable. Some treatments include talk therapy, light therapy, medication, and vitamin D. Therapy light boxes and lamps can be found online and can be used for 20 to 30 minutes a day to boost mood. Talking to a therapist about how you are feeling and how to cope with the winter months is a great option to get started in improving your mood and well-being. Opening up to your support system can also help too. Overall, reach out for help if you experiencing signs of depression especially in the winter months to work on coping skills, self-care, and symptoms management.