The “winter blues” is an understatement. Seasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is characterised by depressive episodes that recur periodically, most often during the winter. It should not be overlooked when symptoms are felt.
Symptoms of seasonal depression
The symptoms of seasonal affective disorder are similar to those of depression, but recur at the same time of the year. They usually start in the fall or winter and fade in the spring. Common mood symptoms include irritability, loss of pleasure or interest in daily activities, irritability, feelings of hopelessness, guilt, or worthlessness, loss of self-esteem, loss of desire, and reduced sociability. depression and SAD. To these can be added a feeling of lethargy, difficulty concentrating and an increasing appetite, especially for sugar.
Causes of winter blues
The exact causes of SAD are not fully known. The main theory is based on the lack of light that would prevent the hypothalamus, part of the brain, from functioning properly. This would affect the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone, and serotonin, a hormone that affects mood and appetite. This would finally disturb the internal clock (circadian rhythms) and generate the appearance of symptoms of seasonal depression.
Treatments for seasonal affective disorder
This form of depression should not be underestimated and its diagnosis should be established by a doctor who can prescribe the most suitable treatment. Among the most common therapeutic responses, light therapy, behavioural and cognitive therapies, or anti-depressants. Note that it is now established that physical activity, at the rate of three supervised sessions per week, presents results similar to drugs for mild to moderate depressive disorders.
Physical activity to prevent depression
Published in 2018 in the American Journal of Psychiatry, a study by British researchers of 34,000 healthy adults shows that regular physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of depression. This protective effect occurs regardless of the intensity of the practice.
Backache and depression
People with chronic back pain are approximately three times more likely to experience a depressive episode, according to this British study published in 2016 and covering more than 200,000 people.