National Institute of Health (NIH) research have taken a clinical look at “winter blues” in comparison with a more severe type of depression called seasonal affective disorder or SAD. NIH research has looked at over 30 years of data to report the term “winter blues” is not a medical diagnosis. “Winter blues” may come and go over a period of a few days or weeks at a time. Seasonal affective disorder / SAD interferes with the ability to function on a daily basis for up to 5-6 months a year. Suffering through months of depression that not only affects you, but also family, friends and co-workers can be successfully treated by an experienced mental health practitioner.
Seasonal Affective Disorder a Form of Depression
Seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression characterized by recurring episodes of mild to severe periods of depression. In addition, other psychiatric disorders, such as bipolar illness, also experience seasonal changes with depressive episodes that may mimic seasonal affective disorder. Receiving mental health treatment from a well-qualified experienced psychiatrist is critical in assuring an accurate diagnosis or multiple diagnoses in the evaluation and treatment planning for your unique set of symptoms and behaviors. Medicine.net reports that up to 10% of adults suffer through SAD, with women diagnosed four-times as often as men. While the average age to develop SAD depression is 23, people of all ages can develop this form of recurring depression.
Symptoms of SAD Depression
While some do not exhibit all of these symptoms, the most common characteristics of recurrent depression or seasonal affective disorder reported by the National Alliance on Mental Illness include:
- Recurrent episodes of depression, usually seen in the late fall and winter
- Periods of depression are typically mild to moderate, but can reach severe states
- Thoughts of suicide is a risk during more severe depression episodes
- Pattern of insomnia or complaints of poor sleep patterns
- Recurring pattern of oversleeping
- Reports of carbohydrate craving and accompanying weight gain
- Decreased sexual interest and libido
- Feelings of hopelessness with daily life
- Lack of interest in normal daily activities
- Decreased socialization and interaction with peers
When SAD depression occurs in the summer, the symptoms most commonly exhibited include:
- Poor appetite and weight loss
- Difficulty concentrating on basic tasks
- Crying spells
- Thoughts of suicide with severe depressive episodes
Atlanta Seasonal Affective Disorder Depression Psychiatrist
The “winter blues” are a form of depression that can be successfully treated following a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation to determine the type, form and degree of depression being experienced. Treatment and management is tied to correct diagnosis of one, two or multiple mental health issues being exhibited. Call the office and schedule an appointment if you’re experiencing these issues.