When Spring Doesn’t Make the SAD Go Away

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare — March 20, 2019 — 2 min read
Today marks the first day of spring and for many that can mean an improvement in feelings of weather-related depression, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – but not always.

SAD is a type of depression associated with the shorter, darker days of winter when you’re not going outside as much or getting as much sunlight. SAD can be treated with light therapy and tends to improve as the days get longer and warmer.

What do you do when it’s spring or summer and you’re not seeing any improvement?

“Continued feelings of depression may mean that the depression is not just weather related,” said Britney Phifer, a licensed therapist and Utilization Management Clinical Manager. “If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression for an ongoing period, you want to make sure you get thoroughly assessed by a clinician. If the symptoms are starting to interfere with daily functioning, you absolutely need to go see someone.”

Some symptoms of depression include:
  • Sad, anxious or “empty” feelings
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
  • Changes in weight
  • Experience thoughts of death or suicide
In addition to seeking treatment from a licensed therapist when feelings of depression persist, our clinicians recommend these tips for protecting your mental health:

Care for your overall health. Physical activity reduces depression and anxiety. Adequate nutrition is also important to maintaining your mental health. In general, make sure you’re getting enough sleep, exercise and nutritious food.

Find a social activity that creates a community. Multiple studies conclude that a social support network and social interaction reduce negative mental health symptoms.

Interact with a pet. Pet owners get more physical exercise and have lower triglyceride levels than their non-pet-owning counterparts. This can also have a positive effect on your mental health.

Volunteer. People who spend time volunteering experience a greater psychological well-being, according to one study.

Protect each other. Be a community ambassador in the fight against isolation and loneliness by keeping an eye out for neighbors who do not leave their homes and have infrequent visitors.

Note: As a reminder, individuals who find themselves or a loved one in need of immediate mental health support are encouraged to call our 24/7 Access and Crisis Line at 1-800-939-5911.
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