Depression is a mental disorder that causes prolonged periods of sadness, often with an unknown or unexplainable cause. Though depression usually affects people all throughout the year, it's very common that it worsens during the winter months. This is due to the cold temperatures and lack of/less sunlight, which can cause unhappiness versus warm temperatures and lots of light in the warmer months.
A depression disorder that is particularly specific on sadness in the winter months is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), or “winter depression”. SAD usually shows all the common depression symptoms but only tends to appear around autumn and winter. It is particularly severe between November and February, and usually improves and disappears as it gets warmer.
There are many ways to try get through the winter blues. A common treatment is light therapy, which involves frequent exposure to a special lamp called a light box. The light will produce serotonin in the body which improves mood, appetite and sleep.
Other ways that could help with depression, not just in winter but at any time, includes picking up new hobbies to keep your mind off things, and seeing friends and family to improve mood – even if it's just a cup of tea with a friend. Remember not to go too far out of your comfort zone though! Going through highly uncomfortable experiences is not good at all.
The winter months may be rough, but it's possible to get through!
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