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Video: Seasonal Depression: How To Recognize And Deal With It
In winter, flu and gastroenteritis do not fail to attack us. But aside from the “usual suspects” of the season, there is one more evil that affects one in five people. This is called seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder (TAF) or winter blues. But what is seasonal depression and what to do if you have it? The answers are to be discovered in the following paragraphs.
Seasonal depression: why does our mood turn gray in winter?
Low energy, difficulty getting out of bed in the morning, lack of motivation, bad mood: the reduction in the hours of sunshine that accompanies winter inevitably leads us into a state of depression that sets in at the beginning of winter (sometimes even at the end of autumn) and disappears in spring. The exact causes of seasonal affective disorder are still unknown, but the decrease in natural light and, consequently, the duration of exposure to light, seem the most likely. In some people, the production of serotonin (the neurotransmitter that regulates mood) decreases noticeably in winter, which is closely related to the lack of light.
It is medically referred to as seasonal depression when these disorders occur at the same time each year (late fall through spring), for at least 2 consecutive years. The symptoms are very similar to those of depression and affect the quality of life of those affected. We can list some, among others:
Lack of motivation; Fatigue and lack of energy; Irritability and depressed mood; Sleeping troubles; Feeling of worthlessness, sometimes even thoughts of suicide; Weight variation.
If these symptoms come back to you every year, it is very likely that you are suffering from seasonal depression. Do not hesitate to consult your doctor who will make the diagnosis and advise you on how to proceed. However, we should not confuse the state of winter blues that returns each year with the cyclical depressive phases of bipolar disorder.
The statistics show:
-In Europe, seasonal depression affects only 1.2 to 4.5% of the population.
-In Canada, on the other hand, the percentage is close to 20%. It is interesting to note that 10% of people experience the phenomenon more intensely, having difficulty carrying out their usual activities.
-A large study by Scottish researchers, published in late 2017, showed that women are most affected by seasonal depression.
What measures to fight against the winter blues?
1. Since seasonal depression is believed to result from a lack of light, when needed, a course of light therapy helps to recharge batteries and avoid deficiencies in natural light. Warning: tanning beds will not help you in the fight against seasonal depression. The UV rays they project are used for tanning and not for improving depression.
2. It is also important to consume plenty of seasonal fruits because the vitamins they contain are beneficial for both health and morale.
3. Herbal teas and hot drinks are also a great way to make yourself comfortable.
4. Antidepressants can also be effective when you can't cope with the problem.