Do You Get More Anxious Or Sad In The Fall? There’s A Reason For That.

When we talk about seasonal depression, the short, chilly days of winter probably come to mind. After all, the majority of people who experience seasonal mood swings experience their greatest stress and anxiety in the middle of the day winter.

But seasonal affective disorder can occur at any time and in any season. And right now, as we step away from summer and adjust to our new fall routines, many people will find themselves feeling a little more anxious or melancholic than they were a month ago.

“At this time of year, when the days are getting shorter, some symptoms of the seasonal pattern of depression may already be developing — even if they don’t reach the level of a medical diagnosis,” says Dr. Eric Goldena psychiatrist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Western Psychiatric Hospital, told HuffPost.

Here’s why fall can bring so much anxiety or sadness

In addition, the days are getting shorter and we are less exposed to sunlight. according to dr Paul Desansassociate professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, the brain is quite sensitive to the light-dark cycle.

Scientists are still learning how daylight affects the neurotransmitters in our brains that affect how we feel, though growing proof suggests that the change of seasons may trigger chemical changes in the brain. For example, we know that less daylight means less serotonin levels — the neurotransmitter linked to depression and mood regulation, Golden said.

Finally, some people’s brains may be preparing for the fact that winter is approaching. If they’ve experienced seasonal depression or anxiety in the past few years, they might worry that their most difficult time of year is just around the corner, Desan explained.

Seasonal mood swings are a spectrum. According to Desan, the data has shown that the most People feel better in summer than in winter, but symptoms can vary greatly in terms of severity. Some may experience only milder symptoms, such as B. Less energy while others develop major depressive disorder.

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Much of this is influenced by a mix of risk factors, such as B. Your underlying health, family history, where you live, and your age and gender. The most important finding, however, is that most people feel worse in the winter and feel better in the summer, Desan said.

Getting as much sunlight as possible can help improve mood-related symptoms.
Getting as much sunlight as possible can help improve mood-related symptoms.

How to deal with seasonal stress

Golden said you don’t have to wait until symptoms are severe to cope with seasonal mood swings. Even mild symptoms, if left untreated, can affect your ability to go about your day as smoothly as you would like.

The first step is to check with yourself and note any mood changes, such as: B. a drop in your energy levels or the way you think. Establishing and maintaining a routine can also be helpful. Make a point of going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.

Because light has such a profound effect on our brain, it’s important to get some light exposure every day. You can do this with natural light – by planning some time outside – or with bright light therapy. If you choose light therapy, Desan said, you want a medical light device that emits 10,000 locks (you can find some of those his suggestions here).

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To reap the full benefits, sit in front of the light for about 30 minutes each day, ideally first thing in the morning. “Light is stronger the earlier you’re exposed to it in the morning,” Desan said. And while some people notice improvements within a week, it can take about a month for light therapy to feel better.

That being said, stick with all of the activities that are proven to help make us feel good. Everything you do to improve your wellbeing—regular exercise, socializing, and eating a balanced diet—affects how we feel. If these strategies don’t help or your condition worsens, consult a doctor to discuss your symptoms and other forms of treatment, such as psychotherapy and medication.

Just because seasonal mood swings are normal doesn’t mean you have to struggle with them. “It’s important to take a preventive and proactive approach to stay on top of things,” Golden said.


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