With a refusal to accept that summer is ending, sooner or later the denial will become almost impossible. To maintain it would take extreme measures and with the inability to have a floating sunlamp hover over me continually whilst wearing rose tinted glasses, the acceptance is likely to come around bonfire night.
Seasonally adjusted depression (SAD) when it does affect people, tends to affect them in the transition from summer to autumn. Like so many ailments, the degree to how we’re affected is somewhere on a scale between making no difference to having an extreme reaction.
There are a number of theories as to what causes SAD. The reduced sunlight affects our production of melatonin which is a hormone that helps regulate our body clock and sleep patterns. Sunlight can also affect our production of serotonin which is a hormone that affects our mood and a reduction in this can cause depression. Our circadian rhythm (our body clock) is also affected by changes in daylight hours. Some people feel the loss of summer time which can be associated with good times, longer evenings and holidays where they feel they have little to look forward to and that next summer is so so far away. Others can dread the colder weather coming and can have unpleasant thoughts of having to get up on cold mornings, feeling cold or having their health affected.
Most people may have a reaction to this change in season that is very minor so they are likely to utilise their normal coping strategies to manage and adjust. For others, the effect may be extreme where great intervention is required to manage their well-being and low mood.
The main treatments for SAD are: –
- Self-regulation – This is finding ways to boost your mood and/or adjust to the change such as promoting your wellbeing with exercise, enjoyable activities, speaking with people close to you, relaxation techniques or altering your thoughts to see the realistic positives in the change.
- Counselling and psychotherapy (including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) – This can help us to adjust to the change by becoming more aware of what the change means to us and why it affects us so much and to find ways to challenge our thought patterns to have a more realistic outlook.
- Light Therapy – This is the use of a light box at home and studies show this is effective to alleviate symptoms in the short term.
- Medication (anti-depressants) – This is generally recommended for severe cases of SAD.
As always, feel free to comment, message or contact me should you require any further information about this or should you be seeking support in any way.