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Could You Be Suffering from Winter Depression?

Updated on December 18, 2013
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We’re human; we all feel like crap sometimes. There are days when we feel a bit more under the weather than we usually do. And when that happens, how can we tell the difference between simply having a crappy day and it possibly being something way more than that, such as winter depression for instance?

Some people feel depressed particularly when winter comes round. And it happens more frequently than you might think. Winter depression, commonly known as Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD, is caused by a decrease in the amount of daylight received during that particular season, which can in turn affect the body’s natural tempo.


Winter Depression: the tell-tale signs...

...can vary per individual; however, there are a couple of signs/symptoms that might point towards the condition such as: feeling lethargic/stressed out/irritated, a dip in self-esteem, excessive crying, sleeping a lot, gaining weight, appetite increase, and a lower sexual libido.

If you find that you tend to get the same symptoms around a similar time of the cold season every year, then it’s a sign that you might be suffering from winter depression. If you can feel those signs coming as autumn creeps in and they worsen as the season progresses into the winter, then don’t brush it off; your body’s trying to tell you something.


The Causes…

There isn’t one overriding cause of winter depression. Rather, there are a group of causes that are known to play a part in it:

- Decrease in daily sunlight received: can have an influence on the brain hormones. It’s believed by some that certain hormones rule what affects our levels of sleep, mood and appetite. Therefore, if the amount of sunlight we get goes down, symptoms associated with those levels arise.

- Increased melatonin: The more sunlight decreases, the more the body produces the sleep hormone, melatonin, thereby inducing sleepiness.

- Reduced serotonin: with less sunlight comes less serotonin (responsible for sleep, mood, appetite) in the body.

- Out-of-synch internal clock: when the amount of sunlight we get each day changes, it can sometimes play havoc with one’s internal clock (also called “Circadian rhythm”), making the body lose sight of its natural sleeping and waking times.


Don't Go It Alone...

Winter depression is a problem that can affect many people. Therefore, if you feel you recognize the signs in yourself, you’re in good company. The fact that there’s a name for it and it’s widely recognized means that there is support out there for you; do consult your doctor to find out the number of treatments available to you.


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