Why does seasonal depression occur, and how can you control the symptoms?

 Why does seasonal depression occur, and how can you control the symptoms?

Why does seasonal depression occur, and how can you control the symptoms?_ ichhori.com

With the weather turning cooler and the days shortening, some people are realising that they have less energy and maren't feeling as upbeat as they used to. While these feelings may be fleeting for some, one in every three people suffers from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) during the autumn and winter months (SAD).

SAD symptoms range from mild to severe, but they usually include: * Low mood, * Loss of interest or pleasure in previously enjoyed activities, * Aversion to certain foods (usually eating more than usual), The exact cause of SAD is unknown, however it is likely to be complicated and diverse. According to some research, it could be caused by a malfunctioning hypothalamus (the part of the brain that governs biological functions including mood, sleep, and appetite) or the production of too much melatonin (a hormone generated by the pineal gland in the brain that controls our sleep-wake cycle). It could also be linked to a disrupted circadian rhythm — the normal, internal process that regulates our sleep-wake cycle, according to some studies. Other things, of course, could be at play.

Getting by with it

When the seasons change and spring approaches, some people notice that their symptoms begin to improve. This isn't to say that there aren't things people can do to help them cope with their symptoms during the winter months.

Psychological procedures (such as talking therapies) or medication are the most commonly advised treatments for patients with SAD (such as an antidepressant). CBT (which focuses on challenging our distressing thoughts and changing our behaviour) has been shown to be an effective treatment for SAD in studies.

When compared to light therapy, researchers found that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) was associated with much lower depression when followed up one year later (another treatment sometimes used for SAD, which involves sitting in front of, or below, a box which emits a very bright light, for around 20-30 minutes or more daily).

Lifestyle factors (such as exercise levels and food) can also have a role in both causing and treating depression, according to research. When it comes to SAD, there's some evidence that exercising (either alone or in combination with light treatment) can help alleviate symptoms.

It's still a mystery why this is the case. However, research suggests that it could be linked to alterations in our circadian cycle. The psychological (such as exercise providing a distraction from sad thoughts and a way to socialise) and physiological (such as increases in endorphin or cortisol levels) benefits of exercise have been highlighted in a review of the influence of exercise on depression.

While there are many things people can take to manage SAD symptoms during the winter months, it's vital to talk to your doctor about your symptoms and feelings – especially if they don't improve or or if the condition becomes unmanageable.




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