What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

The seasonal affective disorder is a kind of depression related to the seasons changing. The depression begins and ends around the same time every year. Most people with seasonal affective disorder have depression that starts in the fall months and continues into the cold winter months but resolves in the spring and summer months. However, it can be the opposite for others. At Charles Evans Center, we have a mental health specialist in Deer Park that accepts Medicaid prepared to handle symptoms associated with seasonal affective disorder.

Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disordermental health specialist in Deer Park that accepts Medicaid

In most cases of seasonal affective disorder, symptoms start mild and worsen as the season progresses before going away again. Some of the general signs of seasonal affective disorder include:

  • Feeling sad or down most of the day
  • Losing interest in activities you enjoy
  • Having low energy and feeling lethargic
  • Sleeping too much
  • Craving carbohydrates leading to overeating and weight gain
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Having suicidal thoughts

If you experience these symptoms, seek our mental health specialist in Deer Park that accepts Medicaid.

Fall and Winter Seasonal Affective Disorder

Some symptoms of seasonal affective disorder are seen more in people who have winter-onset seasonal affective disorder. Some of these winter-specific symptoms include:

  • Oversleeping
  • Appetite changes
  • Weight gain
  • Tiredness

Spring and Summer Seasonal Affective Disorder

Some summer-onset seasonal affective disorder symptoms that are seen include:

  • Insomnia
  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability

Causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder

The exact cause of seasonal affective disorder is unknown; however, some internal factors can increase your chances of obtaining seasonal depression. These factors include:

  • Your biological clock – The reduced level of sunlight in the fall and winter months can disrupt your body’s internal clock and cause depression.
  • Serotonin levels – Serotonin is the chemical in your brain that affects your mood. Reduced sunlight can lead to a decrease in serotonin levels, triggering depression.
  • Melatonin levels – Melatonin is a hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle. The change of season can disrupt your melatonin balance and affect your mood.

Risk Factors of Seasonal Affective Disorder

Certain risk factors of seasonal affective disorder increase the risk of obtaining the disorder. One risk factor is your gender. Seasonal affective disorder is seen more commonly in women than men. Your age can also be a risk factor because seasonal affective disorder is more apparent in younger adults. Other risk factors associated with seasonal affective disorder include:

  • A family history of seasonal affective disorder
  • Having major depression or bipolar disorder
  • Living farther from the equator
  • Having low levels of vitamin D

Seasonal Affective Disorder Complications

You should take signs and symptoms of seasonal affective disorder seriously because they can get worse and lead to further problems if not treated. Some of the issues that can occur include:

  • Social withdrawal
  • School or work problems
  • Substance abuse
  • Other mental disorders like eating or anxiety disorders
  • Suicidal thoughts

Treatment Methods From Our Mental Health Specialist in Deer Park That Accepts Medicaid

If you have seasonal affective disorder, it is necessary to see a mental health specialist in Deer Park that accepts Medicaid. Our specialist can give you the proper treatment such as therapy or medication. More specifically, treatment options include:

  • Light therapy – Being exposed to bright light within the first hour of waking up changes brain chemicals linked to mood.
  • Psychotherapy – Talking to a mental health specialist to learn ways to cope, change negative thoughts, and build healthy behaviors.
  • Medication – Antidepressant medications prescribed by a specialist can help prevent depressive episodes from occurring.

Lifestyle Changes You Can Make

In addition to receiving treatment for seasonal affective disorder, some lifestyle changes can decrease depression symptoms. These changes include:

  • Making your home lighter and brighter – Opening blinds and adding sunlight into your environment can boost your mood.
  • Get outside – Going on walks or simply sitting outside can allow you to get direct sunlight.
  • Exercise regularly – Physical activity can help relieve stress and anxiety associated with seasonal affective disorder. Being more fit can also help boost your mood.
  • Normalize sleep patterns – Go to bed and wake up at reasonable times to avoid sleeping too much or too little.

Visit Our Mental Health Specialist in Deer Park That Accepts Medicaid

If you are suffering from depression, visit our specialist at Charles Evans Center. Our mental health specialist in Deer Park that accepts Medicaid can diagnose and relieve symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. Contact us today to get relief.