The weather is wet and windy, the days and nights are dark and gloomy and the hot summer days are another year away. For many the winter months can dampen a mood but for others it can lead to outright depression.
Known as seasonal affective disorder this winter depression is generally thought to be related to the darker days that occur during the winter months and those with this type of depression experience symptoms such as difficulty waking up in the morning and wanting to sleep longer then usual, have an increased appetite that often leads to weight gain and generally feel down beat and unmotivated day after day.
For others Christmas day itself is an especially depressing time of year. For most Christmas is a time filled with warm welcomes, laughter with friends and family and plenty of eating and drinking with an optimistic view of the following New Year.
Two classic symptoms of depression are a loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities and social withdrawal and when feeling depressed finding the motivation to get involved in the festivities and force a smile can be difficult if not impossible for some. For those with depression in the winter who have few friends or family Christmas day is often spent alone and isolated and consumed with feelings of loneliness, worthlessness and overwhelming sadness with thoughts such as 'the world would be better of without me' and 'life isn't worth living'.
Help and Treatment for Winter Depression:
For those with seasonal affected depression using a light box for a few hours a day has for many been highly effective in eliminating or at least reducing their symptoms of depression. Antidepressants are also commonly prescribed for those with seasonal affected depression as they are for those with depression in general.
These do however take a number of weeks to take effect and for some the side-effects from medication is intolerable and discontinued. For those that can not tolerate the side-effects from prescription antidepressants or for those with mild to moderate symptoms of depression using natural remedies for treating depression may be effective in brightening their mood.
For those that do not suffer from depression but feel concerned about someone who does then the best advice is to show them you care, invite them around for a Christmas meal and drink. If the offer is declined make the effort to phone them Christmas day and remake the offer and remind them you care. Making the offer whether accepted of declined can make all the difference.