Fall brings lovely orange, red, and yellow landscapes as leaves turn color. Winter brings peaceful snowy scenes. We think of family and friends as we plan for the holidays. But for some people, this is not a happy time of year. They suffer from seasonal depression.
Seasonal depression is also known as winter depression, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). People who suffer from SAD usually start to have symptoms during the fall as the amount of daylight decreases. You may be at risk for SAD if you have other family members with it, if you have a history of depression, or if you live further north where sunlight hours are even shorter. Symptoms can include
- Feeling depressed most of the day on most days
- Low energy
- Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
- Change in your appetite or weight
- Sleep problems
- Trouble concentrating
- Feeling hopeless
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Talk with your doctor if this describes you, especially if you are feeling hopeless or are thinking about suicide. Don’t ignore the symptoms thinking that they will simply pass. Treatments are available. They include light therapy, medications, and psychotherapy.
For more information about SAD, visit the National Institute of Mental Health’s website. If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll free at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You also can text the Crisis Text Line (HELLO to 741741) or use the Lifeline Chat on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.