It’s that time of year again–the time when the winter blues set in. With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s easy to stay distracted and too busy to think about being sad. However, for some, the holidays are the onset of painful depression. For others, it’s the days following the end of the holiday season that brings on feelings of sadness and fatigue.
Why People Get Sad During the Winter
The cold, gloomy days of January can lead to the development of what many refer to as the winter blues. For people with the winter blues, feelings of mild depression occur for a short time during the cold months. But those who have persistent, moderate-to-severe depression that starts in the fall and lasts through the entire winter season are likely suffering from something more serious than winter blues. This condition is known as seasonal affective depression, or SAD.
About fourteen percent of Americans report experiencing wintertime blues. Six percent of Americans report a diagnosis of SAD. A lack of exposure to sunlight can worsen symptoms of depression, which is why SAD most often affects people during the winter months. People who are at a higher risk for SAD may have trouble regulating serotonin levels. They may also overproduce melatonin and underproduce vitamin D. Women and young adults have the highest risk of developing SAD,
When to Talk To Your Provider About Your Winter Blues Symptoms
If your mood is affecting your daily life including work and relationships, it’s time to talk to your primary care provider about your symptoms. Symptoms of SAD include:
- General sadness and lack of energy
- Trouble sleeping
- Feeling less social
- Feeling fatigued and lethargic
- Feeling hopeless about the future
- Suicidal thoughts
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you could have SAD. The good news is, SAD can be treated with help from your primary care provider or a mental health specialist. Most mental health professionals need a referral from your primary care provider for your first appointment. Your primary care provider can also assist in filling prescriptions to treat your SAD symptoms.
Don’t suffer in silence. Stop by EliteCare today to get help from one of our experienced providers. Walk-ins are welcome seven days a week.