For many of us, fall is a great time. It is particularly suitable for discoveries, long walks in the forest, romantic evenings, etc. It is also a perfect opportunity to learn more about nature. Unfortunately, this is not always the case for everyone. Indeed, for many people who are anxious and particularly sensitive by nature, the seasonal change can cause what is called ” fall depression “. This transition involves a change in our lifestyle, which can weaken some. But what is it more concretely? And how do you overcome the depressive disorders that occur during this time? Response elements.
Fall depression: some useful explanations
Seasonal depression – also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – is primarily a type of depression that is linked to the changing seasons. Most people with this transient form of depression have their symptoms start in the fall and continue through the winter months. This is also why we can distinguish two kinds:
The winter depression ;
The fall depression.
We have already covered the first in a previous article. As for the fall depression, it often begins at the first signs of the fall equinox. As a rule, this coincides with the last days of August and persists for several weeks thereafter. However, the majority of us face a momentary decline in morale during this time of transition. However, this does not necessarily indicate that one suffers from a depressive disorder. To make sure that your symptoms are associated with fall depression, it is essential to determine whether they appear at the same time for a minimum of two consecutive years. Unlike other different forms of depression , this usually subsides on its own as spring arrives.
What can be the origins?
Scientists are not yet able to establish the exact causes of seasonal depression . However, some research has been able to demonstrate a co-relationship between hormonal changes (which occur in our body and in our brain) and changes in our attitude during certain times of the year. One theory by Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal suggests, in particular, that fall depression – like winter depression – is related to shortening of days. The work of this psychiatrist and researcher from the National Institute of Mental Health is also widely recognized in the scientific community and has supported the spread of light therapy.
In fact, the lack of light influences our internal biological clock. As a reminder, it strongly contributes to the functioning of the body in general. This is particularly the case for the regulation of sleep , body temperature or the immune system. When it experiences an imbalance, for example, this encourages the brain to produce less serotonin; an amino substance that plays a role in stabilizing mood.
Symptoms of fall depression
Generally speaking, the symptoms of seasonal depression are the same. Specifically, those of fall depression can include:
A drop in the psychic energy that emerges from the sexual drives (libido);
A persistent bad mood;
Loss of pleasure or interest in normal daily activities;
A constant irritability and increased;
A generalized feeling of hopelessness, guilt and worthlessness;
A feeling of lethargy (lack of energy) and drowsiness during the day;
Increased hypersomnia (sleeping longer than usual and having trouble getting up in the morning).
For some individuals, these manifestations can be so severe that they begin to have a significant impact on all aspects of daily life. Personal, social, family, professional, interpersonal, etc. Sometimes this transient depression can also be accompanied by an overwhelming urge to eat carbohydrates. This then results in weight gain, which is not necessarily the case for other different forms of depression.
How to fight against fall depression?
In order to combat fall depression , it might be better to seek the services of a mental health professional. The latter will be able to establish a concrete diagnosis and direct you to effective treatment. Most of the time, it is light therapy. This consists of using a specific lamp to simulate exposure to the sun. You can acquire this tool for home use, but you will certainly be better supervised in a specialized institute.
Likewise, talking therapies – such as cognitive behavioral therapy – can be effective in taming symptoms better. This alternative works for almost all the different forms of depression. Antidepressant drugs; such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may also be prescribed for you. However, making a few changes in your lifestyle can also help relieve symptoms of fall depression.
Here are some suggestions
Choose an outdoor activity to enjoy throughout the fall. Hiking, cycle touring, apple picking… the options are endless.
Take advantage of your patio or garden to soak up the natural sunlight. It’s the best way to fight fall depression. Do this for at least an hour a day, more if the day is particularly gray. Take a quick stroll around the block when the sun rises or multiply forest baths if you have one near you.
Go out with your kids or friends and have fun together.
It’s also a great opportunity to rethink your diet . This will help you cook up delicious meals while boosting your energy. Favor products rich in omega 3 . Studies are actually increasing to demonstrate the effectiveness of this fatty acid to fight temporary depression.
Get regular physical exercise. This is essential in the treatment of any mental health disorder, whether mild or severe. An improvement in mood will be observed thanks to the secretion of dopamine, adrenaline and endorphin. These substances are known to provide a feeling of well-being.
Take a short break to recharge your batteries. Don’t spend too much time thinking about everything you should be doing or preparing for the next few months. Now is the perfect time to rest while you can. However, be sure to maintain a healthy lifestyle.