As the sunny, warm days, give way to rainy, cold days, fatigue, exhaustion, and moodiness come knocking on our door. The experts believe that seasonal depression, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is triggered by less sunlight during winter, is not all that innocent.
Clinical Psychologist Asst. Prof. Dr. Yasemin Meral Öğütçü, Lecturer, Department of Psychology, Izmir University of Economics (IUE), reported that seasonal depression could last up to 4 -5 months, and that it needed to be taken more seriously. She said that it was not just a simple mood disorder, and it had effects just as depression did. Öğütçü said, “Fatigue increases as well as the need for sleep due to less sunlight. We crave for more carbohydrates. These symptoms may be normal for this season but we need to watch out their severity. It is no different from regular depression. It disappears at the end of the season; however, it may get worse. Therefore, it would be helpful to see your doctor for an assessment. Why would people spend their 4-5 months like this?”
Asst. Prof. Dr. Öğütçü said that treating depression with medication was preferred more in Turkey and that it did help in the short run, but psychotherapy helped people learn how to cope with their problems. Depression is more prevalent in females; 13% of females, as opposed to 8% males experience depression, stated Asst. Prof. Dr. Öğütçü and warned not to underestimate seasonal depression, and pointed that people should increase their daily activities little by little. She said that people should seek help; they should not take the matter into their own hands. Ögütçü said, “Among the symptoms are lack of concentration, weight loss/gain, loss of motivation, decrease in libido, being anti-social, staying away from hobbies, etc. There are different treatments, depending on the severity of your symptoms,” said Öğütçü.
‘Do not give up daily activities’
Asst. Prof. Dr. Öğütçü recommended people not to give up their daily activities, said that feelings of despair and hopelessness can cause people to give up their routine activities. Asst. Prof. Dr. Öğütçü stated the following:
“People, who experience seasonal depression may give up their daily activities due to negative feelings such as ‘Why should I go out?’ ‘Why should I see my friends?’, ‘I don’t need to exercise’. Therefore, it is very important to participate in minor activities. They may keep a score sheet and rate their going out and seeing friends between 0 -10. They may score their expectation first, and re-score it after their going out. They would see that the score would increase after their socialization. Such methods would help them get rid of the negativity.”