Find out about seasonal affective disorder

It is normal for the weather to affect our spirits, but it is not normal to get depressed to the point of affecting our daily lives.If your spirits fall with the leaves of the trees in the autumn and your joy seems to freeze with the winter, you can suffer a seasonal affective disorder. Find out what it is and what you can do to treat it.

There are days in the winter that sadden anyone. Especially for many of the Latinos who come from tropical countries, the low temperatures of winter can really affect our spirits.

But one thing is to miss the warm climate of our homeland, or to want to stay at home when it’s snowing or raining … and another thing is not having the courage to get out of bed, not wanting to share a time with family or friends, and not wanting even to smile since the winter comes. Something happens there!

If you feel that winter really affects your mood to the point that it limits your activities of daily life, you can have seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that affects some people especially during the winter season.

How can you tell if your winter depression is APR? The clearest symptoms of this type of depression are: drowsiness, excessive sleep, fatigue during the day, difficulty concentrating, being hungrier (especially for sweet things) and disinterest in all types of activity, even in sex. These may be the symptoms of any depression, but the key to identifying what is seasonal affective disorder , is that they begin to appear every year with autumn or winter, and disappear with spring. Also, you do not understand or know why you feel that way.

If you meet those symptoms, you are not the only one. According to the data, approximately 3% to 6% of people in the United States suffer from seasonal affective disorder in a significant way, and many more suffer it in a moderate way, without even realizing it.

What causes seasonal affective disorder There is really no concrete answer to this question. It is believed that SAD emerges as a response of the brain to the lack of natural light that characterizes winter. Experts suspect that the lack of light causes the brain to change the production of key hormones to regulate mood, energy and sleep. Apparently, it produces more melatonin, a hormone that normally arises when you are in the dark and that increases drowsiness and lethargy (thanks to it we sleep at night). And, in turn, it produces less serotonin, the hormone that is produced by sunlight and serves to be awake during the day.

Who suffers? It is a type of depression so common that it can occur in adults, adolescents, and children, and it is still not clear why some people are more affected than others. It is believed that there may be people more sensitive to changes in sunlight than others, probably due to family inheritance or personal experiences.

Some studies have shown that there is more in the northern states than in the southern ones, for obvious reasons. It is also known that SAD affects women more than men, probably due to hormones, and that it is more frequent in people who suffer from depression frequently.

What can you do? As with any depression, there are many ways to lift your spirits:

  • Salt when you can to take advantage of the few hours of the sun of the day
  • Do not shut yourself up So do not make you leave home and do not feel like talking to anyone, make the attempt. After the first half hour, you will appreciate having left home.
  • Exercise is one of the best medicines to lift your spirits
  • Your doctor can give you a light therapy, it uses “light boxes” or panels that imitate sunlight, in front of which you sit for a few minutes a day to replace the light that is scarce in the winter
  • Therapy with a psychologist (psychotherapy) can help you analyze your own thoughts and negative attitudes in this time and achieve change or avoid them
  • If the symptoms do not improve, talk to your doctor, perhaps a temporary antidepressant will be recommended.
  • If you suffer from depression frequently, with greater reason you should prepare in time for the arrival of winter and thus avoid a relapse in this time. If you are taking antidepressants, ask your doctor if you can increase the dose or change medications during the winter season. And, if necessary, intensify the therapy sessions with your psychologist or with your support group.

Winter does not have to be a season always gray and sad for you. If you act on time and look for help, you can enjoy the parties to the fullest, play in the snow with your children and enjoy with your friends a hot chocolate in front of the fireplace. It does not sound so bad, right?

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