As the year moves toward its conclusion, with the annual holiday season just around the corner, many people start to feel heavier. It’s not uncommon. It’s also not their fault. What they are feeling could be seasonal depression.
Seasonal depression for most people starts in the fall and stretches through the winter until the flowers bloom once again. Some people also do experience seasonal depression in the summertime and early fall.
The challenge with seasonal depression is someone desperate for relief turns to self-medication with drugs and alcohol. That may help for a short time, but never permanently. If one continues to self-medicate, you run the risk of addiction.
The staff at Victory Bay Recovery Center is here to help make sure that doesn’t happen. If seasonal depression seems to be moving toward unhealthy choices, give us a call.
What is Seasonal Depression?
Seasonal depression is a form of mood disorder. Researchers don’t know for sure what causes it, but some believe it has to do with the diminishing amount of sunlight that begins in early fall and lasts until spring. The thinking is that the lack of light wreaks havoc with the body’s cycles.
It’s been suggested, for instance, that the decline in light somehow triggers a reduction in serotonin, a mood-regulating chemical.
Whatever the cause, the effects are clear — and for someone struggling with substance abuse, they are dangerous. Prolonged depression can cause people to pick up the bottle or look for relief in a pill.
Symptoms of Seasonal Depression
How do you know if you have seasonal depression? We all approach the winter and holiday months in different ways, sometimes with mixed feelings. It might be feeling sentimental about people you’ve lost or reflecting on the passage of time and the year gone by.
Seasonal depression is much more than just feeling sad, though. It brings on a set of physical symptoms that make it hard to function. Some of these symptoms include:
- Difficulty in sleeping/insomnia
- Excessive fatigue — during the daytime, especially
- Depressed, as if living life in a dark cloud
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Feeling hopeless or worthless
One of these symptoms alone may not indicate a problem with seasonal depression. Several together make it imperative that you consider sharing your feelings with friends and family or getting help from a therapist.
Self-Help for Seasonal Depression
First and foremost: Don’t drink. Don’t use drugs. That only leads to more problems.
Remember that seasonal depression doesn’t last. Finding alternative ways of dealing with your feelings can be extremely useful in keeping seasonal depression at bay. Not all these ideas are right for everyone. Experiment with a few to see what works. Here are a few ideas:
- Start an exercise program — or go longer in the one you already have.
- Eat small, regular, healthy meals — being hungry or eating the wrong things can compound your mood.
- Get enough rest — being sleep-deprived and poorly rested also can make it difficult to deal with seasonal depression.
- Soak in the sunshine — it’s easy to become a hermit in winter. When it’s sunny, get out for a walk to enjoy the light.
- Participate in other self-help activities — listen to music, take bubble baths, maybe take a vacation getaway.
It’s much easier said than done, but seasonal depression calls for you to be active in supporting your health.
Addressing Seasonal Depression at Victory Bay Recovery Center
The seasons come, and the seasons go. For some people, it can create a funk that turns into seasonal depression, leading to substance abuse. Bring these issues under control with the support of the Victory Bay Recovery Center. Our team offers outpatient care for substance abuse and co-occurring disorders and support for families and sober living arrangements. Located in New Jersey, near Philadelphia, our treatment teams follow evidence-based care as their guide. We focus on understanding your needs as an individual and ways to return you to sobriety, health, and normalcy. Don’t let addiction take you down any further. Contact Victory Bay Recovery Center at 855.259.1624 for an initial consultation today.