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What Is Seasonal Depression?

woman looking out of the window considers what is seasonal depression

A depressed mood is a common part of life. For many people, changes in seasons can cause a shift in mood. For some, this might be the effect of seasonal depression. Also called SAD or seasonal affective disorder, seasonal depression is a type of depression that occurs during a time of year the days are shorter. While seasonal depression can happen every year, especially in the winter months in Massachusetts, it is treatable. A depression treatment program can help.

If you or someone you love is struggling with seasonal depression, know you are not alone. There are treatment options. At NuLife Behavioral Health, our clinic helps clients throughout the state of Massachusetts and beyond recover from seasonal depression and other mood disorders. Call us now at 888.568.2057 to learn more about the benefits of depression treatment and get started today.

What Is Seasonal Depression?

During the winter months in the Northern Hemisphere, the brain receives less sunlight simply because the days are shorter. For many people, cold weather also prevents ample time outdoors with exposure to natural light. Less sunlight results in lower levels of vitamin D and higher levels of melatonin. Melatonin is a naturally produced chemical that helps us fall asleep at night. Many people take melatonin supplements for occasional insomnia. Natural melatonin production, however, is very sensitive. Supplementing too much melatonin can enhance depression, and so can too little access to natural sunlight.

Signs and Causes of Seasonal Depression

Studies show higher levels of melatonin correlate with higher levels of depression. The body’s internal clock may move out of sync with darker, shorter days while changes in weather and less natural light can affect exercise. Lower levels of physical activity during the winter months can increase anxiety and prevent the release of endorphins. These factors can lead to a chemical imbalance and seasonal depression. Signs of seasonal depression include:

  • Increased fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Easily agitated
  • Lethargy
  • Feeling worthless
  • Loss of interest in activities and relationships
  • Mood swings
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lack of motivation

Today, seasonal depression is common, and while for many it may not be avoidable, it can be treated with professional help. Unfortunately, many people attempt to ease symptoms of seasonal depression with drugs, alcohol, or over-eating. While these indulgences can temporarily relieve symptoms, they will make them worse over time. Those living with seasonal depression may have a higher risk of developing drug or alcohol addictions.

Depression Treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder in Massachusetts

Unfortunately, the winter months can be grueling along the east coast. Today, countless people struggle with seasonal depression. Many things can trigger SAD and other co-occurring disorders. By taking time to assess your needs, create boundaries, and get out of the house when possible, you can reduce the side effects of seasonal depression on your own. However, speaking with a professional and seeking the help you need is always the safest way to overcome depression.

Luckily, like other forms of depression, seasonal depression is treatable. If you or someone you love is living with seasonal depression, know there is help available. At NuLife Behavioral Health, our warm, friendly clinic meets clients where they are for individualized treatment and care for mental health and addiction recovery. Our programs provide intensive outpatient treatment and partial hospitalization programs for clients across the state of Massachusetts. Our referral program can help clients find the right residential and aftercare programs with our trusted partner clinics.

Call NuLife Behavioral Health Today to Learn More

No matter where you are in your recovery, diagnosis, treatment, and care for co-occurring disorders, the team at NuLife Behavioral Health is here to support you. If you’re ready to learn more about the benefits of depression treatment for seasonal depression, call us now at 888.568.2057 to get started.