LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder, is when someone experiences episodes of depression at certain times of the year, but not others, often during the dark, cold fall and winter months.
Mental health care provider Thriveworks says cases of seasonal depression are likely to peak in the second week of November. That’s based on their study of internet search trends for the condition.
Dr. Hanne Hoffmann, a professor at Michigan State University, says about 3% of the U.S. population deals with seasonal depression. In Michigan, that rate is 20 to 40%
Thriveworks reports Lansing has the 10th highest internet searches for seasonal depression in the entire country. And while spring and summer can also bring on the condition, Sparrow Health System says fall and winter cases show the following symptoms:
- Appetite changes
- Cravings for high-carb foods
- Weight gain
- Low energy
Thriveworks recommends a few ways to cope with seasonal depression. First, keep a consistent sleep schedule. Sleep really has an impact on your mood.
Second, alcohol and other substances can make the problem worse, so limit your use of those. Next, lightboxes or sad lamps can help provide the light you’re missing this time of year.
Other strategies include getting outside, moving every day, and engaging in social contact.
Seeing a mental health professional is always an option as well. Sparrow says psychotherapy and cognitive behavior therapy can address seasonal depression. And medication can sometimes help those with severe symptoms.