Depression in Spring? Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and How to Deal with It

By Kathryn Hill on June 03, 2011

A very surprising study has shown another story how depression occurs during spring, when the sun is coming out and the weather is getting warm.  Various studies have analyzed significant relationship between the mood and weather condition.  In United Kingdom, suicidal rate is rampant during May and April, where generally, most of the people from all over the world are happy and hopeful.  A report written by Stephanie Hegarty of BBC World Service entitled “Reverse Sad: Why springtime can be bad for depression sufferers” talked about why there are some people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), where people who are suffering from depression becomes more dispirited instead of being lively and active during spring. John Sharp, a psychiatrist in Harvard has pointed out 3 big effects of seasons in the mood of people and of the depressed:

  • Physical Realm- the mood is affected by the light and temperature when some chemical reactions happen in the brain such as the increase in serotonin and dopamine which are responsible for the feelings of happiness and elation.
  • cultural Realms- events such as holidays and festivals affect people’s mood and behaviour positively
  • Anniversary Realms- seasonal cues provide an alley in moving on from great or negative events in people’s life.
  • The third is event anniversaries. Whether it is something positive, such as a great achievement, or a negative event, like death and loss, seasonal cues trigger our senses and can cause us to relive these moments year after year.

How to Deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Around 17 percent of the population in UK suffer from SAD (individuals from 18-30 years old), also known as Winter Blues.  The reason for that is the biographical location in UK as well as in Ireland was there are significant changes in the level of light between summer and winter.  SAD can lead to severe anxiety, sleep disorders, fatigue, loss of self-esteem, loneliness, and the like. While many people rely on medical treatments such as anti-depressants, there are known side effects that can be very detrimental to one’s health.  Aside from this, anti-depressants do not actually treat the root cause of the depression.  That means when a patient discontinues using it, it’s likely that he/she goes back to being depressed. Alternative treatments for depression are getting high regard today because of the fact that it goes beyond the reasons why a particular person gets depressed and provide constructive ways in eliminating the root cause.  Widespread alternative treatments are hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and acupuncture. NHS has spared £3000 for a gardening program for depressed patients.  Grantees are given 8 weeks of gardening training to help them combat depression through planting plants and making them grow.  Such therapeutic program was found out to have positive effects on building self-esteem and building a sense of well-being.  Patients are being taught of basics in plants, vegetables, and fruits as well as propagation and the like. With behavioural therapies and sincere support from family and friends, every patient can combat depression and can stay happy through winter, spring, summer or fall.

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