Fall is supposed to be a good season for us because it represents new beginnings, but sometimes we just feel worse and horrible all the time.

We aren’t even sure why, especially because this kind of feeling only lasts a couple of seasons before fading. But it’s nothing to worry about. Not too much anyway. That’s just seasonal depression.

So, What’s Seasonal Depression?

To get into talking about seasonal depression, we first have to mention its real name. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. Yes, it’s a bit ironic, considering.

This disorder is a particular kind of depression that operates differently. It comes and goes with the seasons, though it usually begins in fall and early winter and recedes during the sunnier seasons.

SAD

Just because this type of depression is season-specific doesn’t mean you have different criteria in recognizing it. It pretty much falls into the same symptoms. Hopelessness, low energy, loss of interests, sleep problems, and changes in appetite, among others.

To be diagnosed, you’ll need to meet the full criteria in specific seasons for at least 2 years. The symptoms don’t change depending on the season but professionals have warned that this seasonal disorder may affect some people during the summer.

Why Do We Feel Down?

While it has previously been a great mystery, as time goes on, more and more professionals think that this has to do with the sun setting earlier the deeper into winter we go. Many actually believe that the lack of sunlight stops a part of the brain called the hypothalamus from working properly.

SAD

This lack of sunlight doesn’t affect everyone the same way because some are usually more likely to get SAD than others.

The sunlight does affect our hormones, though, so when we get less of it, we get less serotonin and melatonin. The two hormones that affect mood, appetite, and sleep. This naturally throws your body off its rhythm, physically and mentally.

How Can You Deal With It?

Dealing with seasonal depression isn’t complicated at all. It’s just like any other kind of depression, as in it should be treated, no matter how much you might feel like it’s a passing cloud.

Among the things you can try are medication, light-focused therapy, psychotherapy, and, interestingly, vitamin D, whether alone or in combination.

If you suspect you have too much winter off-moods or summertime sadness, don’t panic. Now you know what it is and you can combat it.