Seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons. It can significantly impact individuals and their families, particularly those dealing with addiction. Understanding when it occurs, its signs, and how to cope can be instrumental in managing the feelings it creates effectively.
If you or a loved one lives with depression and addiction, BlueCrest Health Group can help. We know that depression isn’t always seasonal and that it can sometimes lead to uncontrolled substance abuse. Our professionals are skilled in building meaningful connections with our clients to understand their circumstances and find a better way forward. Find professional help for a healthier future by calling 888.340.2214 and enrolling in our addiction and depression treatment program.
When Does Seasonal Depression Occur?
Contrary to popular belief, seasonal depression does not exclusively happen in winter. While it’s most common during the fall and winter months due to decreased sunlight, SAD can occur during any season. Some people may experience symptoms in the spring and early summer, often referred to as “summer depression. ” This form of SAD is less common but equally valid and impactful.
Signs of Seasonal Depression
Recognizing the signs of seasonal depression is the first step toward seeking help. Some common signs include:
- Persistent feelings of sadness or depression
- Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
- Feeling agitated or sluggish
- Low energy or fatigue
- Feeling hopeless or worthless
- Difficulty concentrating
- Frequent thoughts of death or suicide
- Substance abuse
In individuals with addiction, substance abuse can often worsen or be worsened by seasonal depression. The use of drugs or alcohol as coping mechanisms can lead to a vicious cycle that deepens both the addiction and the depression.
Tips for Coping with Seasonal Depression
If you or a loved one are struggling with seasonal depression, here are six tips to help manage the symptoms:
- Light therapy – This treatment involves exposure to bright light within the first hour of waking up each day. It’s intended to simulate sunlight and has been shown to reduce symptoms of SAD.
- Maintain a regular schedule – Keeping a consistent sleep, meal, and activity schedule can help regulate your body’s internal clock and minimize symptoms.
- Exercise regularly – Physical activity can boost your mood by increasing the production of endorphins, the body’s natural mood elevators.
- Eat a healthy diet – Consuming a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can help increase energy levels and improve mood.
- Stay connected – Reach out to friends, family, or support groups. Social connections can provide emotional support and reduce feelings of isolation.
- Avoid alcohol and illicit substances – These substances can worsen depression and might interfere with the effectiveness of prescribed medication.
- Recognize you may not be in control – Acknowledge that you may not be able to control every aspect of the depression and that professional support may be needed.
At BlueCrest Health Group, we provide comprehensive support for addiction and depression. Our dual diagnosis programs are designed to step in when you no longer feel in control of your life and help you equip the tools for a better way forward.
When to Find Professional Help Navigating Seasonal Depression
If you’re experiencing persistent symptoms of depression, it’s important to seek professional help. This is particularly crucial if you’re dealing with addiction simultaneously. Professionals can provide a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses both conditions. They can offer therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), medication management, and strategies for managing your symptoms.
Remember, you’re not alone. With the right support and management strategies, you can navigate depression and addiction so you can get back to living a fulfilling life.
Call BlueCrest Recovery to Get Help Coping with Depression
The professionals at BlueCrest Recovery are available to provide comprehensive, individualized treatment for addiction and depression. Our experienced team can help you identify your triggers, develop strategies to manage symptoms and get back on the right path. Don’t let seasonal depression become an obstacle to achieving a healthier future. Reach out at 888.340.2214 to enroll in a depression program today.