Types and symptoms of seasonal depression
What is seasonal depression? Also known as seasonal affective disorder. Seasonal depression occurs every year starting in autumn or winter. It often ends in spring, sometimes in early summer. There is also “summer depression”, but it occurs rare. Symptoms of “summer depression” appear in late spring and disappear in autumn.
People suffering from seasonal affective disorder have a lot of common symptoms. They are anxiety, sadness, loss of interest in social and other activities, irritability, problems with concentration, severe fatigue, weight gain, energy lack, oversleeping, increased appetite. Symptoms of summer and winter seasonal depression disorder differ a little. Summer seasonal affective disorder symptoms are trouble sleeping, weight loss and decreased appetite. Winter seasonal affective disorder symptoms are weight gain, fatigue, increased appetite and need for sleep, problems with concentration, increased strain after isolation.
Causes of seasonal depression
Exact causes of seasonal affective disorder are not known. But lack of sunlight and changes in its availability are considered to cause seasonal depression disorder. Biological clock regulates our mood, hormone levels and sleep. It is supposed to work more slowly in winter. Three-quarters of people suffering from seasonal affective disorder are women between 20 and 40 years old. Though, adolescents and children also suffer from seasonal depression. Seasonal depression can be caused by lack of neurotransmitters in the brain. Their imbalance may be corrected with exposure to light. That is why, light therapy is used for seasonal depression treatment. Sometimes it is used in combination with antidepressants. So, if you have some symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, spend more time outdoors.
In any case, you need treatment, because seasonal affective disorder is only a part of serious psychiatric problem. Only health professional can make a proper diagnosis and recommend you effective treatment of seasonal affective disorder.
Seasonal depression and light therapy
A device containing white fluorescent bulbs with intensity 10 000 Lux or more is used in photo therapy or treatment seasonal depression light therapy. These bulbs are covered with a screen made of plastic which blocks ultraviolet rays. Distance between a patient and the device is 2-3 feet. Overall, this way of seasonal depression treatment is safe, but there are some slight side effects such as headache, fatigue, eye strain, irritability and difficulty sleep. The best time for the light therapy is morning. It usually takes 30 minutes. Light therapy is proven to be more effective in the morning than in the evening. Moreover, evening therapy may result in insomnia. As symptoms of seasonal affective disorder can come back quickly, after the treatment course was interrupted, it is recommended to continue light therapy during autumn and winter. Light therapy and tanning bed are different things. Do not try to treat seasonal depression with help of the tanning bed.
Prevention of seasonal affective disorder
Here are a few tips that will help you to prevent seasonal depression from coming back. Take minerals and vitamins. You diet should be well-balanced. Spend more time outside, because lack of daylight may cause seasonal affective disorder. Do exercises three times a week. 30 minutes will be enough. Seek professional help and take course of light therapy, especially in winter. Take part in social life to prevent seasonal affective disorder from quick return.
Types and symptoms of postpartum depression
Women after childbirth tend to suffer from this disorder, but its symptoms disappear in two weeks in most cases. There are 3 sub-types of this mental disorder: postpartum psychosis, postpartum depression and postpartum blues (“baby blues”). Postpartum depression is treatable with help of support therapy, psychotherapy and medication. Symptoms of postpartum depression are abnormal emotionality, sudden mood swings (from sadness to extreme joy), energy loss, extreme weight changes, insomnia, tearfulness, feeling of worthlessness. Physical symptoms are palpitations, migraines, rough breathing, digestive problems. When hormonal levels stabilize, symptoms disappear. Postpartum Psychosis is the most dangerous. Its symptoms can appear during pregnancy. They are hallucinations, extreme confusion, desire to hurt a bay or oneself and delusions.