Seasonal depression: causes, symptoms, and treatment

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Seasonal depression: causes, symptoms, and treatment
What is seasonal depression? What are the symptoms? What are the causes of this depression? How to treat her? Is light therapy an effective treatment? The answers.


Summary
Recognizing seasonal depression: the symptoms
Seasonal depression not to be confused with the winter blues
The causes and course of seasonal depression
The diagnosis of seasonal depression
Treatment of seasonal depression
Light therapy for seasonal depression


1 |Recognizing seasonal depression: the symptoms
Recognizing seasonal depression: the symptoms
Seasonal depression is one form of depressive disorder. It is an episode of depression that sets in the fall or early winter and lasts until spring.

The symptoms are similar to any depression that we can experience

Permanent sadness and depressed mood,
Loss of interest in anything,
Intense fatigue upon awakening (not resolved by sleep),
To these main symptoms are also added:

Irritability and other mood swings
Self-deprecation,
Excessive and unjustified guilt,
Concentration and attention disorders,
Decreased libido,
Sleeping troubles,
Weight loss or gain,
Thoughts of suicide
Compared to other types of depression, people with seasonal depression have:

More frequently tendency to hypersomnia (too much sleep) and increased appetite.
They are often attracted to sweets and tend to grow fast during the winter months.
their sadness appears mainly during the evening.

Seasonal depression not to be confused with the winter blues
Seasonal depression should be distinguished from the winter “blues” that most of us feel from time to time. In the event of a blues, the mood swings that we sometimes present are temporary and do not prevent us from continuing to carry out our daily activities. On the other hand, victims of seasonal depression are very handicapped in everyday life, work, and relationships with others.

This type of depression is also characterized by the fact that the symptoms always come back at the same time each year. In many people, these symptoms usually appear at the onset of winter.

The causes and course of seasonal depression
The exact cause of seasonal depression is not known, but the decrease in the intensity and duration of sunlight in fall and winter appears to play an important role. What is certain is that this disorder affects women more often, who represent 75% of those affected. It does not spare children, of whom it is estimated that 2 to 3% are victims from the age of ten. Finally, depressive disorders are often found in other members of the family.

The diagnosis of seasonal depression
In the event of depression, seasonal or not, evaluation by a health professional is essential. To be diagnosed with seasonal depression and not with another form of depression, there must have been at least two winter depressive episodes, with no depression of any other kind in between. Then, the diagnosis is the same as for characterized depressive episodes. Thus, it is posed when:

symptoms last more than two weeks;
the state of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest is almost permanent during this period;
this state of distress is associated with several other symptoms of depression,
and that if they cause significant discomfort in everyday life.
Treatment of seasonal depression
The treatment of seasonal depression, like that of other forms of depression, is based on psychotherapy, carried out by a specialist (psychiatrist, psychologist), and on antidepressant drugs which are generally very effective.

Light therapy for seasonal depression
In addition to the treatments used, there is a specific therapy for seasonal depression: light therapy. It consists of exposing your skin and eyes to a light whose nature is similar to that of the sun but without infrared or ultraviolet which are dangerous. The light exposure sessions are carried out in specially equipped booths, for half an hour to an hour, thus making it possible to fight against the winter decrease in natural light.

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