Also known as seasonal depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is fairly common all over the world. You find yourself hitting your lowest point. You lose interest in important activities, withdraw from social engagements, and sometimes find yourself contemplating suicide, all during a particular time of the year.
Winter is coming, and while it is known to be a festive season, for several people, it is the onset of sunset—the beginning of dark days.
While medical experts have been unable to narrow down specific causes of SAD, some factors have been placed under the radar. We will discuss some of them, along with some of the most effective solutions that can help you break through the shackles of SAD.
What Exactly Is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a mood disorder in which individuals express symptoms of depression at the same time of every year. SAD can occur not just in the fall and winter, but also in the spring and summer, however, the most reported cases usually happen during the winter.
In the UK, about 3 in every 100 experience depression during the winter, while In the US approximately half a million people suffer from the winter SAD. While SAD is possible in most people, there are individuals with higher chances of getting affected. For instance, it has been found that women are more prone to experiencing seasonal depression than men. A family history of SAD may also make you more susceptible.
Furthermore, if you already have a major depressive disorder, it may worsen at a specific time of the year.
Signs of the Seasonal Affective Disorder & Seasonal Depression
Some symptoms that are common during this period include:
Lack of Energy
Self-hate and feelings of hopelessness
Loss of interest in things you usually love
Withdrawal from social interactions
What Actually Causes SAD?
Medical practitioners have been unable to place a finger on specific causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder. However, with a close consideration, there are a number of reasonable hypotheses out there. Winter, for example, is a festive season, hosting one of the world’s largest holiday seasons. With Christmas in sight, there is a good deal of pressure coming along, especially in terms of financial aspects and familial expectations. With these in mind, it’s not hard to understand why a lot of people find themselves getting anxious and concerned at this time of year.
On the other hand, experts have suggested that Seasonal Affective Disorders may have some relationships with the levels of chemicals such as Serotonin and Melatonin.
Serotonin is a brain neurotransmitter that regulates your mood. It is also called the ‘happy chemical.’ In some people, it usually drops during the winter when there is reduced sunlight. A reduction in serotonin levels has been viewed as a possible cause of depression during the winter. Melatonin, on the other hand, is responsible for coordinating our sleep-wake cycle. During the winter, some people’s melatonin production gets disrupted, negatively affecting their sleep, inducing stress, and possibly leading to depression.
Treating Seasonal Depression With Self-Hypnosis & Guided Meditation
Self-hypnosis and guided meditation have conquered grounds when it comes to helping individuals upgrade their mental health. When administered by qualified and experienced professionals such as Mark Bowden, self-hypnosis and guided meditation can be an effective means of combatting Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Self-hypnosis and guided meditation works against SAD by training your brain to attain a level of sustained focus and calm and developing the ability to shift your thoughts from negativity. When affected by Seasonal Depression, the brain triggers the production of stress hormones that lower immune functions and leave those affected at risk of several health problems; including heart attacks and digestive disorders among others.
Self-hypnosis and guided meditation work hand in hand to make the brain less susceptible to external stimuli, thus curbing the continuous release of stress hormones. With consistent administration, you will find yourself feeling more relaxed and focused on the more positive sides of your life. Some of the best self-hypnosis downloads and guided meditation audios designed by Mark Bowden to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder and Season Depression include:
Stress Relief: Free yourself from all the pressure that weighs you down
Stop Overthinking: Calm your Overactive Mind, to help you silence those nagging negative thoughts
To enable you to break free from seasonal depression, a few other remedies have been developed over the years. Consistent administration of the following treatments will, over time, result in the alleviation of the condition.
Also known as phototherapy, light therapy involves the use of artificial sunlight to help treat SAD. The idea behind light therapy is to stimulate the increased production of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that coordinates our mood. Results are usually visible after a few days. However, a few side effects might occur, and you need to discuss with your doctor before proceeding with this form of treatment.
Anti-depressants have been shown to be effective against SAD. However, it may take a couple of weeks before you begin to see actual results. Furthermore, just like several other medications, you also have to pay attention to side effects and should communicate with a health professional before proceeding with anti-depressants.
Vitamin D supplements are also used sometimes in place of light therapy and have been proven to help manage depression, in general.
Also known as talk therapy, this process involves neither drugs nor lightboxes. It is strictly based on personal interaction with an expert and one of the most employed psychotherapy treatments is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. With psychotherapy, you will be taught to:
Notice and resist negative thoughts
Plan your day effectively to avoid any triggers
Interact with people around you and be able to determine what social event is best suited for you
Seasonal Affective Disorder can be hard to deal with, especially if it has been around for a long time. While self-hypnosis and guided meditation, along with other discussed remedies, are effective against SAD they require consistency and dedication. You may also need to fine-tune your lifestyle to speed up your recovery. One way you can do this by keeping the blinds open and removing any obstacles to sunlight in order to make your environment brighter. Take long walks to ensure that you spend as much time as possible under the sun. Also, as in most cases relating to health, regular exercises will be beneficial.
Ultimately, always know that the power to break free lies in your hands, and no matter how bad you feel, never let go of that power.