Seasonal affective disorder it is a psychopathological phenomenon which shows the union between mental processes and aspects that we usually attribute only to meteorology and astronomy.
It is a psychological disorder in which the person develops an emotional disorder repeatedly at around the same time of the year, and which generates depressive symptoms.
In this article, we’ll take a look at how it affects people’s sanity as well as Lava Arias to see if it affects us.
What is seasonal affective disorder?
Emotional emotional disorder is a model of appearance of depressive symptoms (i.e. related to a very bad mood) that occurs repeatedly over the years with the onset of a particular season, usually in winter.
In some diagnostic textbooks it is defined as an independent psychological disorder, while in DSM-5 it is seen as a variant of depression in which symptoms go away due to the season that emotionally affects the person.
Why is this mood change happening?
As with the vast majority of psychological disorders in general, the causes of seasonal affective disorder are complex and cannot be reduced to one or two triggers; there are several factors that interact with each other and lead people to develop symptoms. However, in our case, it seems that the most important causes (that is to say those which have the most weight in the appearance or non-appearance of a psychological problem) are linked to the change of one season to another, which implies differences in temperature and sun exposure.
At first glance, it may appear that these causes are somewhat arbitrary and “irrelevant”. What does the changing of the seasons have to do with psychological processes? But if we take a look at how other life forms work, this relationship doesn’t seem so strange. Planet Earth is full of examples of animals that innately show a strong predisposition to behave in one way or another depending on the season. Elements such as the lack of availability of food during the cold months, the reduction in the mass of vegetation which complicates the camouflage, the lack of sun which complicates the mobility… are aspects which are reflected in the way in which many species have evolved to adapt to these phases and transitions through which the ecosystems they inhabit.
Of course, some cases are clearer than others: the way of life of the wolverine, a mustelid that lives in the taiga and must spend the winter to survive on carrion, is not the same as that of the Homo sapiens, a hominid that evolved near the equator, where there is little difference between the months of January and June. However, hormonal imbalances related to the change of seasons can affect us to some extent, and in the case of a small part of the population, these can become so important that they can cause emotional problems (or favor their appearance).
Warning signs of seasonal affective disorder
As we have seen, there is no clear consensus on whether Seasonal Affective Disorder is an independent clinical entity or whether it is a version of depression.
Thus, the symptoms that characterize emotional affective disorder are those of depression. Knowing them will help us detect if it is affecting us, although a definitive diagnosis can only be made by mental health professionals. Let’s look at the keys to identify it.
1. You notice a drop in your mood coinciding with the start of the season
Symptoms of seasonal affective disorder they usually appear in the first third of the entrance to a station, always the same, that in most cases is winter. That is to say that year after year, this emotional mismatch generally appears on more or less the same dates, without it being possible to attribute it to obvious changes in the professional, family or geographical context on these dates. (for example, going to work in another country certain weeks of the year).
2. You feel that your daily life has been disrupted by changes in sun exposure
Many people with seasonal affective disorder notice the lack of light associated with winter it makes their daily life offer them much less incentive and they see more problems in enjoying their free time.
3. The feeling of hopelessness is projected into the future
Although seasonal affective disorder is limited by the season that triggers it, the way people who suffer from it see the future goes further. There is a feeling that life is meaningless in general, that we can never be happy, etc.
4. Emotional fatigue always appears at the same time
The person with this disorder finds that they lack energy to carry out their daily responsibilities, and he spends his free time adopting a passive attitude.
5. Lack of interest in recreation
At this time of the year, the person gives up his hobbies, because he does not feel motivated by them and, on the other hand, he notices that he does not have the strength to be actively involved in anything that he does not consider as an obligation.
What to do with this change?
Seasonal affective disorder can be treated with psychotherapy, where strategies will be carried out for emotional management and reactivation of habits capable of activating the person behaviorally and emotionally. Forms of medical intervention such as psychotropic drugs or light therapy can also be used, always under medical supervision.
Are you looking for professional psychological support?
If you are interested in having psychological help to detect and identify mood issues that may affect you and initiate a process of psychotherapy, please contact me.
Javier Ares Arranz
Javier Ares Arranz
Psychologist specializing in Depression, Anxiety and Couples.
Profile price 2020
My name is Javier Ares and I specialize in psychological disorders related to anxiety and depression, as well as partner issues; I take care of adolescents and the adult population. You can count on my services during my consultation located in Madrid or through the online video call therapy modality.