Seasonal depression (also commonly referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD) is a common type of depression characterized by its recurrent seasonal pattern. The National Institute of Mental Health states that SAD often happens when days get shorter in the fall and winter and peaks from December to March, with some symptoms letting up as longer daylight hours set in each year in springtime.
Since the holidays bring a plethora of distractions including family plans, quick deadlines, and gift shopping and the distractions of the beginning of every year include setting goals and resolutions and jumping back into the “swing of things”, it’s easy to get caught up in our busy lives, often ignoring signs of seasonal depression in our loved ones. While many people who suffer from seasonal depression have learned coping mechanisms over the years and have found ways to cope with the “winter blues”, it’s important for everyone to not only learn the warning signs of seasonal depression but also to know the warning signs of suicide.
Important facts about seasonal depression
There are some key facts about seasonal depression that can help you understand more about this unfortunate disorder. First, approximately 90% of people with SAD experience depressive symptoms yearly in the fall and winter, while only 10% have depression in the spring and summer. Second, due to the nature of what triggers this disorder (shorter days and less sunshine), it tends to be more prevalent the further north you live. Another fact about seasonal depression is that it tends to be more recognizable in adults rather than in children and more common for women than men. Finally, the seasonality of the symptoms is the easiest way for doctors to make the diagnosis with symptoms peaking in January or February and lasting for a few months.
When depression turns to suicidal thoughts, symptoms you should be aware of
There are many common symptoms for both seasonal depression and suicide including feeling empty, hopeless, restless, pessimistic, and short-tempered. Other symptoms include a lack of interest in daily life or things you may have once enjoyed, and an increased level of fatigue. The beauty of seasonal depression is that because it is linked to the changing of the seasons and the longer dark days, it can often be treated with things like light therapy, vitamin D, and psychotherapy.
Even though the symptoms for seasonal depression and suicide overlap, you will want to be hyperaware of the key differences that can change from being SAD to being suicidal. Suicide warning signs include more severe triggers like talking about wanting to die, looking for ways to die, talking about feeling hopeless and having no reason to live, withdrawing and feeling isolated, and displaying extreme mood swings. While every symptom listed here should trigger getting help for you or your loved one, it’s important that you act quickly when they become more severe.
How you can help yourself or a loved one
If you or someone you know is in immediate distress or is thinking about hurting themselves, it’s so important to know that help is out there and to use the resources available. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 988 and provides free and confidential support. Their website is also an incredible resource and can be reached by clicking here or typing in www.988lifeline.org.
Help in Louisiana
At Xtreme Cleaners, we have professionally cleaned and remediated spaces that have been contaminated due to every trauma imaginable from homicide and accidental deaths to infectious diseases and suicide. With decades of experience handling biohazard cleanup situations with the utmost care and respect, we understand how important it is to handle sensitive situations with discretion and care.
While we hope no family is ever in need of our services due to the tragedy of a suicide, we are available 24/7 to help if you ever need us and can be reached at 800-524-9591. If you or someone you know needs help cleaning a contaminated space in Louisiana, we are just one call away.