CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 5% of adults experience seasonal affective disorder or seasonal depression, and Lowcountry mental health facilities are working to make sure people get the services they need. Have been.
Melissa Camp is the Director of Clinical Operations at Live Oak Mental Health & Wellness. Their inpatient and outpatient services help people with a variety of mental health challenges.
Camp says one of the things we pay attention to is that the change in weather and seasons has an impact on some people, where it can greatly reduce their energy levels as it gets darker during the day. And it is colder and more people are inside.
She explains that anyone, even a generally mentally healthy person, can suffer from seasonal depression for a variety of reasons.
It’s weird because we think about the holidays and we think about happiness and family and excitement and that’s true for a lot of people, but there’s a huge number of people who have more depression during this time of year. And that’s totally OK, but sometimes it’s hard for people to understand, Camp says.
Due to less sunlight, people may become deficient in Vitamin D, their internal sleep cycles may change and their appetite may also be affected. All this can result in seasonal depression.
Roper Primary Care Physician Dr. Valerie Scott says your mental health is as important as your physical health.
We have found in primary care that mental health plays a big role in almost everyone’s life. This may affect the management of your chronic disease, says Scott, or it may just be your primary problem.
Scott and Camp agree that people may feel like seasonal depression isn’t as big of a deal as other mental struggles, but it is very important to address.
It is a form of depression and it is a real illness. It’s not like it’s cold outside. It’s in the category of depression, Scott says, but it only happens a few months a year.
Seasonal affective disorder, or seasonal depression, can affect people up to 40% of the year. Camp says any changes in your mental health are worth talking to your doctor about.
They’re right that seasonal depression won’t be as severe as some of our major depressive disorders or bipolar disorder type symptoms, but it’s still very real, right? It’s still tough, Camp says. And so I think more than anything, it’s a real thing to recognize that you may need some additional support, whether it’s therapy or medication, or whatever that looks like for you, but really self. -Pay attention to care also.
Symptoms include less energy than usual, loss of appetite, and feeling lonely. Camp says self-care means getting enough sleep, eating adequate nutrients, and minimizing contact with stress factors like alcohol at this time of year.
Camp says self-care means getting enough sleep, eating adequate nutrients, and minimizing contact with stress factors like alcohol at this time of year. Scott says that seasonal depression can be officially diagnosed after having recurring problems for two years. But thankfully there is a proven cure for it.
We know that going outside, getting sunlight can help especially if your symptoms are minor, but several studies have shown that using light boxes that give you 10,000 lux of light and that’s really the case. Could change, says Scott. It is necessary to do this in consultation with the doctor. We also know that antidepressants like Prozac have been thoroughly studied for this condition. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to be just as good at treating this condition as the other treatments I have discussed.
Experts say it all starts with a conversation with your doctor. If you need answers to immediate questions, Trident’s Live Oak Mental Health & Wellness facility is available 24/7 at 843-797-4200.
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