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Seasonal Depression – What You Need to Know

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Seasonal depression is more common in women than men. It often begins in young adults between the ages of 18 and 30. The condition also tends to run in families. People with other mental health conditions are also more susceptible to developing it. About 25 percent of people with bipolar disorder also experience SAD. Those who experience minor mood swings may have subsyndromal SAD.


Researchers have discovered that individuals with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) may have lower levels of serotonin during the winter months, and that their serotonin levels bounce back to normal during the summer months. This finding could help improve treatments for SAD. People with SAD experience symptoms such as decreased energy levels, difficulty concentrating, agitation, and weight gain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain that can cause mood changes in the body.

The lack of sunlight affects our biological clock, which regulates our hormones, sleep, and mood. It also affects the production of certain chemicals in the brain, including serotonin, which contributes to feelings of happiness. When the levels of serotonin decline, the brain is not able to regulate these chemicals effectively, and this may lead to depression.

People with SAD often take antidepressant medications. These drugs work by increasing the level of serotonin in the brain. This helps people with SAD improve their moods and reduce their symptoms. However, antidepressants may cause side effects, especially in young adults and children. Therefore, it is best to combine these medications with other self-help methods.


Melatonin is a naturally occurring brain chemical that helps regulate the body’s circadian rhythm. It’s known to relieve symptoms of seasonal depression and is a useful treatment for people who suffer from this condition. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that low doses of melatonin were helpful in reversing the effects of winter depression. The study was led by Alfred Lewy, a pioneer in the study of circadian rhythm disturbances and its effects on depression.

Researchers found that the combination of decreased serotonin and increased melatonin in people with SAD is likely to affect circadian rhythms. These are the body’s internal 24-hour “clocks,” and they respond to seasonal changes and daily changes in light-dark cycles. In addition to the timing of the circadian signal, some individuals may be more susceptible to SAD than others.

The study also found a correlation between melatonin and seasonal depression. Melatonin levels are higher in SAD patients who have better sleep hygiene. In addition, supplementing melatonin during the summer can relieve depressive symptoms and improve sleep hygiene.

Changes in daily rhythms

Changes in daily rhythms and seasonal depression may have a relationship, though there are still many questions about the connection between these two phenomena. The human circadian system regulates our mood, wakefulness, and energy levels, and its disruption is known to contribute to many health conditions, including seasonal depression. Light exposure in the evening has been shown to disrupt circadian rhythms, resulting in altered biological and behavioral rhythms and a depressive state. The relationship between changes in daily rhythms and mood disorders is complex, but it may be possible to treat both conditions through the use of chronotherapy.

Although the symptoms of SAD are similar to those of seasonal depression, summer SAD symptoms tend to be more prevalent, due to shorter daylight hours and shorter nights. Because of these changes, people suffering from summer depression may also experience sleep deprivation. Taking melatonin supplements is known to combat the symptoms of SAD, and modifying sleep patterns can help reset the circadian rhythms.

Treatment options

There are a variety of treatment options for seasonal depression. These include medication, psychotherapy, and light therapy. However, you must tell your health care provider if you have bipolar disorder before undergoing light therapy, as it can trigger manic episodes. You can also talk with your doctor about alternative treatments.

Light therapy has been shown to be effective for seasonal depression in 85 percent of cases. It works by stimulating circadian rhythms and suppressing the production of melatonin. In addition to light therapy, talk therapy can be used to identify negative behaviours and learn healthy coping strategies. Your GP can also prescribe antidepressants to help you deal with your symptoms.

The cause of seasonal depression is not known, but scientists believe that changes in the biological clock may be a contributing factor. The change in the biological clock causes mood changes that are linked to the amount of sunlight received. Increasing amounts of sunlight increase the production of serotonin, which promotes a good mood. In winter, the level of serotonin in the brain decreases and is linked to decreased mood.

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