The Winter Blues Forecast

A Closer Look at Seasonal Depression
The Winter Blues Forecast

When the cold weather is here, snow are not the only thing falling. Happiness falls and depression on the forecast.

Seasonal depression also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a recognized form of depression that occurs at particular types of the year. Mrs. Butina, a mental health therapist at Greater Latrobe High School shared insight into the challenges of seasonal depression.

Seasonal depression occurs yearly when there is less sunlight and more darkness in the fall and winter months. The changes in seasons often cause an increase in melatonin levels and a decrease in serotonin levels. The reduced sunlight causes a rise in the production of melatonin which can make people feel like they are tired and lacking energy. Serotonin is one of the main neurotransmitters that affects mood which is why the decrease in serotonin production can trigger depression symptoms.

Mrs. Butina said, “Seasonal depression is a depression just like any other depression. You can have difficulty sleeping, difficulty eating, loss of concentration/focus, crankiness, less patience, and irritability.”

Junior, Alan Derk has personally struggled with seasonal depression himself. He said, “It feels like you are just drained of all your energy. It will be like one day you are super happy and the next day you feel just done. You won’t have any motivation or want to do anything at all.”

Seasonal depression should be treated similarly to other types of depression. This can include talking to a therapist or taking medications such as antidepressants.

Another way to help cope with seasonal depression is light therapy. Light therapy can help boost your vitamin D levels. Mrs Butina described how sitting in front of light therapy lamps for 30-40 minutes a day can help boost mood. She also described an alternative option which is sunning tanning beds although they do bring more danger.

Alan talked about how he has learned to cope with seasonal depression. He said, “I usually try to go out with my friends and have a good time when I am feeling down. I also try to go outside as much as possible even when it is colder to boost my mood. “

Alan’s coping mechanisms highlight the importance of socializing and staying connected with friends even while facing the challenges this type of depression brings. Continuing to engage in activities gives individuals like Alan the opportunity to feel a sense of normalcy and alleviate feelings of isolation.

Seasonal depression most commonly occurs in teenagers and young adults. Being aware of symptoms and seeking help as soon as possible, if needed, allows SAD to remain under control. Communication is key when it comes to any type of mental health disorder and individuals should always be encouraged to speak up if they feel something is wrong.

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