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Seasonal Depression is Returning, Now What?

By: Michelle Ivanova

Looking out at the window at 5 pm and seeing the nighttime already approached. Daylight savings occurred on November 7th. You start to feel a similar feeling from the previous year:

  • Moodiness

  • Fatigue

  • Withdrawal

  • Sleeping Problems

  • Difficulty Concentrating

  • Suicidal Thoughts

  • Changes in weight

  • Appetite Changes

Seasonal depression, formally known as “Seasonal Affective Disorder” initiates from a lack of sunlight outside. Most commonly, seasonal depression occurs during the late fall through winter and vanishes by summer. However, seasonal depression also appears from early spring to summer. Seasonal depression causes are:

  • Circadian Rhythm

Circadian rhythm portrays itself as a human clock that partners with the time of waking up. As light decreases throughout the winter season, the body could have disrupted rhythms of sleeping and waking up that can produce seasonal depression indicatiors.

  • Serotonin Creation

Individuals having seasonal depression can lack serotonin (a hormone affecting moodiness, appetite, and sleep) through limited sunlight.

  • Melatonin Creation

People with seasonal depression may create a higher amount of melatonin (a hormone that makes an individual sleepy) than usual through the lack of sunlight in winter and early spring months.

American Family Physicians claim “About 4 to 6 percent of people may have winter depression. Another 10 to 20 percent may have mild SAD. SAD is four times more common in women than in men”. Seasonal depression may seem overbearing, although there are treatments that can ease the condition:

Light Therapy

Winter seasonal depression appears when a lack of sunlight presents itself during the colder months. Light therapy demonstrates an opportunity to alleviate winter depression. The treatment consists of sitting in front of a light-box and has a duration of 30 minutes. Light therapy can be used until more sunlight appears in later seasons. Since light produces serotonin and endorphins, seasonal depression could be reduced since an individual has more light exposure.


Anti-Depressants can be used to treat more severe cases of seasonal depression and are more commonly used to treat general depression. However, anti-depressants are less likely to assist in the temporary condition. They can be taken before seasonal depression hits through the winter and spring for most efficient results. Consult an appointment with a psychiatrist or doctor to talk about taking antidepressants and what fits best for alleviated depression.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) consists of changing behavioral mindsets towards situations in to feel better and convert healthier habits. CBT follows a series of personalized sessions with an experienced therapist. Session durations can last from weeks to months, talking with a doctor or seeking a consultation through a psychiatrist/therapist can help begin CBT.

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