Seasonal depression is a type of depressions that is entirely related to the changing of seasons and the time of year. Most people who deal with seasonal depression will struggle with depressive symptoms during the winter months. 

It can be easy to try and ignore these problems and just accept them. However, there are a number of steps that you can take to improve your mood and overall situation without using dangerous coping mechanisms. 

To begin, let’s take a look at some of the common symptoms people will deal with from season depression.

Symptoms of Seasonal Depression

In terms of symptoms, seasonal depression is fairly similar to other forms of depression. Some of the common symptoms associated with this type of depression include:

  • Loss of interest in activities that you once enjoyed
  • Low energy and fatigue
  • Sleeping issues
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Sluggishness
  • Feelings of hopelessness or guilt
  • Suicidal ideation or thoughts of death

In most cases, these depressive symptoms will appear during the late fall and early winter and will dissipate when it gets sunnier in spring and summer. 

Coping Mechanisms

One common thing for people to do when they start to experience issues such as depressive symptoms or anxiety is to begin using an external source to cope with their issues. Unfortunately, these can sometimes be negative things that will contribute to and exacerbate the problem further. However, there are a number of positive coping mechanisms that can also help to improve a patient’s symptoms.

Negative Coping Mechanisms

There are numerous negative coping mechanisms that can make it difficult for people dealing with seasonal depression to overcome the issue, and in some cases, it can even get worse. 

One of the most common forms of negative coping mechanisms is drugs and alcohol. Using these substances may provide very brief relief but will make the situation worse overall and will likely lead to addiction. While there are national and local treatment centers, such as Indianapolis rehab that can help patients, it is still best to try and avoid this in general.

Another common coping mechanism is eating. Many people will overeat or eat very unhealthily if they are dealing with certain mental health problems. Just like drug or alcohol use, these issues will make the hole that you feel you are in deeper. It will also cause your physical health to deteriorate and put you in a problematic position.

Despite these problems that people may look toward when they are feeling overwhelmed, there are still many different positive coping mechanisms that people can begin in their lives that could help them potentially overcome their problems.

Positive Coping Mechanisms

One of the best ways that you can deal with depression, stress, or feeling overwhelmed is to exercise. Whether it is running, weight lifting, swimming, hiking, or going for a simple walk, all of these things can help get your body moving and your mind working in a different way and releasing hormones and neurotransmitters like dopamine to help people get the mental health help that they need.

Along with these types of coping mechanisms, people dealing with depression may want to seek out professional treatment options to find out what is the best thing to do in their specific situation.

Treatment Options

When seeking out professional help, patients will go through certain evaluations to see what the problem is. This will likely include a physical examination and a psychological evaluation. Following the correct diagnosis, doctors will work with patients to find out what the best treatment path is. This will likely include light therapy, medications, or some combination of the two.

During light therapy, also referred to as phototherapy, patients will be exposed to bright light within the first hour of waking. This type of therapy is supposed to mimic outside light that might be diminished due to the winter months. 

Along with this form of therapy, some types of antidepressants may be prescribed to help prevent depressive episodes and people with a history of seasonal depressive disorder.

Whatever treatment is used, patients will likely see improvements in their overall mental health and feel better if they stay consistent with their treatment plan. Luckily, the situation will also likely get better once the season changes again.