With everyone getting into the holiday spirit, decorations adorn every house in the neighborhood and family coming together, how could anyone get discouraged? Well, anyone can and that’s okay. Depression does’t take off for the holidays. Sometimes your own problems seem bigger than the world and it seems like a struggle to enjoy the holidays in peace. You don’t wanna be a debbie-downer on one of the most festive holidays, but you can’t bring yourself to pretend to be happy either. S.A.D., as defined by the National Institute of Mental Health, is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and subsiding during the spring and summer.
It’s important to remember Seasonal Depression, also known as S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder), is not to be taken lightly as “the winter blues” or that it only happens in the winter time. Winter blues can be cured with sleep and physical activity, while people with S.A.D. cannot find comfort in doing such things. They can’t just sleep the depression away. Instead, treatment such as therapy or medication may be needed. People tend to side with the lazy card, stating that people how claim they have seasonal depression need an attitude adjustment. This is a toxic judgement and should not be supported. People with seasonal depression may not even know they have it, and to completely ignore or write off their problems as “laziness” is wrong. S.A.D. sufferers cannot control their emotions or when they become depressed.
S.A.D. isn’t restricted to only one gender, race or background. Although it is more commonly found in women, it shouldn’t be ignored when found among men. It shouldn’t be considered as simple as a common cold or flu, it takes time and a supportive environment to come to terms with this illness and eventually find a solution. Seasonal Depression can set back people’s ability to function and perform normal activities. It can make people withdraw from friends and family and negatively impact their future. Without proper help, it can cause problems at school or work, social withdrawal, other mental disorders such as anxiety or eating disorders and suicidal thoughts.
Despite all of the negative side effects, there are treatments that combat seasonal depression. For example, on factor to the cause of winter depression is the lack of sunlight. Doctors suggest using light therapy, a special light box you wear like a cap. If it is confirmed that you have S.A.D., then your doctor may suggest medication or behavior therapy. If none of them work alone, then they may suggest to do them all at once. Remember, admitting someone has seasonal depression is a step in the right direction.
Please, if you think you or a loved one has Seasonal Depression, call a doctor and get the help you need. This isn’t something that you should fight alone. This holiday season, reach out and get the help you deserve.