Why You Need to Stop Dismissing These Symptoms as the “Winter Blues”

During winterAs the days get shorter, we often spend more time under the covers to stay warm. It is also common to feel low, irritable and lethargic during the colder months. But experts say these feelings of emptiness or hopelessness shouldn’t be dismissed as the “winter blues” because they could mean something serious — seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which the Mayo Clinic says is “a type of depression that’s related.” to the changes of the seasons”. As such, SAD people experience significant mental decline in the winter and can feel a lot of hopelessness and anxiety. As a result, other aspects of life are affected, such as relationships and work.

“The symptoms of SAD creep in during the winter, but many people notice them too symptoms in autumn, which gradually increase in the winter months. It is also considered a subtype of major depressive disorder and is characterized by recurrent episodes in the winter and naturally elevated mood in the summer,” explained Vinaya Gore, Principal Psychologist and Founder of Aatman Psychology Studio.

When talking about her patients with SAD, the expert added that the symptoms are similar to those that come with major depressive disorder. “Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, depressed and/or irritable mood, increased anxiety, feelings of emptiness, faultincreased sensitivity to criticism, tearfulness, disturbed sleep, not feeling rested even though you sleep more, less energy and interest in things and reduced sex drive are some of the symptoms,” she told indianexpress.com.

Many people around the world are turning to white light therapy to combat seasonal affective disorder. (Source: Getty/Thinkstock)

She added that treatment for seasonal affective disorder includes medication and psychotherapy, along with lifestyle changes such as going outside for a walk and seeing sunlight, daily exercise and more connections with friends and family. “People need to stop dismissing severe SAD symptoms as just the ‘winter blues’ and seek the medical and psychological help that is necessary. I encourage people to be more aware of this and seek professional advice if needed,” she continued.

According to Harvard Medical School, light therapy, which replaces the lack of sunlight with artificial light, is an effective way to deal with seasonal affective disorder. Light therapy uses light boxes that produce bright white light. As far as your brain is concerned, artificial light works just like natural light sunlight. In this form of treatment, bright light affects cells in the retina that are connected to the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that helps control the body’s circadian rhythms. These rhythms are disrupted in a person with seasonal affective disorder, which can have side effects, especially in people who cannot tolerate bright light.

As previously mentioned, antidepressants can also make a difference when it comes to treating SAD. “If you’re still experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to talk to a professional and try to understand what works for you. In hard times (like the winter months) we need something extra self care stay healthy,” added Dr. Gore.

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