Updated: Apr 26
Subject: Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is different than depression
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression because many of the symptoms are like major depression, but it differs from major depression and regular depression because it only affects people during the winter months. It's thought to be due to a lack of sunshine.
This condition usually begins late in the fall or the start of winter. This makes sense because that’s when there is less sunshine in many parts of the world. The lack of sunlight causes your body to get out of sync.
The signs of SAD include:
* Irritability * Fatigue * Sleeping too much * Food cravings * Weight gain
Sometimes SAD is diagnosed when it’s mild bipolar disorder, so if you have these symptoms you should seek attention from a professional trained in these things such as a psychiatrist or therapist. However, you can start with your regular doctor.
Spring and Summer SAD
There is also a little-known condition called reverse SAD or summer SAD that affects people in the spring and summer. However, some believe that this might really be a type of bipolar disorder.
The symptoms of reverse SAD are:
* Depression * Insomnia * Lack of appetite * Weight loss * Anxiety
Some people can become almost manic in the summertime due to the additional light being too much for their system. These people feel more depressed in the winter than in the summer, but still have issues as mentioned above in the summer.
Realize that it’s normal to feel down and even up sometimes. The way to know if you need help is if it’s interfering with your normal life. If you can’t get to work, focus at work, and function in society or get along with your family and friends, and you are feeling hopeless, then you must seek professional assistance.
There is also help for winter SAD such as using a natural spectrum light and possibly short-term medications. If you have summer SAD, you want to find out what else may be going on. There are ways to get your body back in sync with circadian rhythms. Plus, it’s best to be diagnosed by a professional to ensure that you don’t have something more serious.
In the next article, we’ll talk about how to overcome post-natal depression and the various treatments available.
If you think you may hurt yourself, get help right now:
Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
Call a hotline. In the U.S., call the National Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or use its web chat.
If you're feeling depressed, but you aren't immediately thinking of hurting yourself, seek help:
Reach out to a close friend or loved one — even though it may be hard to talk about your feelings.
Consider joining a men's health group that deals with depression.
Call a crisis center hotline.
Make an appointment with your doctor, other primary care providers, or mental health professional.
Get help when you need it
Asking for help can be hard for men. But without treatment, depression is unlikely to go away, and it may get worse. Untreated depression can make you and the people close to you miserable. It can cause problems in every aspect of your life, including your health, career, relationships, and personal safety.
Depression, even if it's severe, usually improves with medications or psychological counseling (psychotherapy), or both. If you or someone close to you thinks you may be depressed, talk to your doctor or mental health professional. It's a sign of strength to ask for advice or seek help when you need it.
Male depression and coping skills
Treatment, including psychotherapy, with a mental health professional, can help you learn healthy coping skills. These may include:
Goals. Set realistic goals and prioritize tasks.
Support. Seek out emotional support from a partner or family or friends. Learn strategies for making social connections so that you can get involved in social activities.
Coping. Learn ways to manage stress, such as meditation and mindfulness, and develop problem-solving skills.
Decisions. Delay making important decisions, such as changing jobs, until your depression symptoms improve.
Activities. Engage in activities you typically enjoy, such as ball games, fishing, or a hobby.
Health. Try to stick to a regular schedule and make healthy lifestyle choices, including healthy eating and regular physical activity, to help promote better mental health.
Many effective treatments are available for depression. So don't try to tough out male depression on your own — the consequences could be devastating.
To your success,
William J. McClelland CLC, CNC, MPNLP
Disclaimer: Please understand that the content of this article is not meant to replace the advice of a licensed physician. The information provided here is intended as educational material only and should never be interpreted as medical advice. If you feel that your condition is a medical emergency, please contact your physician or mental healthcare professional immediately.