Dark, Winter Days Can Lead to Depression


As the days get shorter and sunlight seems harder to find, you should become familiar with the signs of Seasonal Effective Disorder to avoid self-medicating.

The darkest days of the year are here, bringing the least amount of sunlight paired with cold, gray weather that can affect even the happiest person’s mood. That’s why it’s important to be alert for signs of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and depression in ourselves and those we love.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that appears during the colder months of the year, and symptoms tend to be at their worst in January and February according to the American Psychiatric Association. Symptoms of SAD include fatigue, a lack of interest in usual activities, social withdrawal, weight gain and a craving for foods high in carbohydrates.

Some report feeling sad, while others report not being able to feel anything or suffer from a lack of energy. Be aware of the range of symptoms, and talk openly about depression – whether seasonal or not. For teens, depression can manifest itself as sulking, shyness, reluctance to go to school, clinging to a parent or pretending to be physically ill. Because these behaviors are also standard markers of growing up, many teen depression sufferers don’t get treatment.

When those with depression suffer in silence, they may turn to substances or negative behaviors to deal with their symptoms. Drug or alcohol abuse, gambling, sex or shopping addiction can all compound the existing mental health issues. This type of self-medicating may be why approximately nine out of ten people who seek addiction treatment have an underlying mental health issue like depression, anxiety or bipolar.

Depression and Addiction Help at The Canyon

If you or someone you love needs treatment for an addiction and co-occurring mental health disorder like depression, call The Canyon at the toll-free number on our homepage. Someone is there to take your call 24 hours a day and answer any questions you have about treatment, financing or insurance.

Wendy Lee Nentwig

By Wendy Lee Nentwig
Guest Contributor

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