For some people, the arrival of autumn and winter months can affect their mood. The leaves begin to change, mornings and evenings are cooler, and with these changes comes sadness. Changing seasons are not just about the weather, for many people autumn and winter also bring a substantial change in lifestyle. Going back to grade school, college, or university is filled with challenges that are different from what we face during the summer months. For some, it may be a combination of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) a type of depression that begins in autumn and winter and usually gets better when spring arrives. Changing seasons and mood is an issue many of us deal with, but it is important to understand all depression is treatable.
Changes seasons and mood
Your changes in mood may not be due exclusively to the change in weather and availability of sunlight. Life changes and transitions may also be playing a role. For children and teenagers, this can be an issue because not all children enjoy the academic and social challenges that school brings. For young adults in college and university, this time of life can bring substantial pressures and stress. When combining the external challenges with cold weather and little time outside in nature, the effects can bring on sadness and negative mood.
Is it Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that is related to the change in seasons. It is thought that the lack of light may be a factor in why people develop depression during fall and winter but feel better during the spring and summer months. Life changes can also play a role in how you feel during this time.
Researchers estimate about 10 to 20 percent of recurrent depression follows a seasonal pattern. In the spring, symptoms usually get better. However, this doesn’t mean you should suffer every fall and winter from depression. If you are suffering from depression at any time of year, seek help as depression is among the most treatable of disorders.
In the United States, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) seems to be influenced by latitude, for example, the prevalence of SAD in New Hampshire has been measured at 9.7% while in Florida, the estimate only 1.4% of people suffer from SAD.
Here are some of the signs and symptoms that occur beginning in the fall season and typically ending in the spring.
Feeling depressed or sad most of the day, more days than not
Changes in sleep patterns (too much or not enough)
Loss of interest in activities you usually enjoy
Feeling of hopeless
Difficulty focusing or concentrating
Fatigue or low energy
Feeling irritable and overreacting to small stressors
Frequent thoughts of death or suicide
Appetite or weight changes
Help for Seasonal Changes and Mood
There are many therapies that are effective for depression, SAD and low mood. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is effective in treating depression and anxiety. Psychotherapy is also helpful for identifying underlying issues and helping to heal past trauma and move forward into a more positive and healthy life.
Whatever the cause of your depression, there is no need to suffer alone, reach out and get help so you can begin to create a happy and healthy future.
Therapy in Schaumburg Illinois
Jaime Williamson provides therapy in Schaumburg, IL specializing in Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Jaime works with individuals struggling with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and relationship issues. If you would like to learn more, you are welcome to call and book an appointment or fill out my contact form and click Send.