3 Signs of Seasonal Depression

woman struggling with seasonal depression

3 Signs of Seasonal Depression

By Lakeview Health
Lakeview Health
Published: December 3, 2020
Updated: January 11, 2021

Seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a short-term mood disorder that becomes apparent when the days get shorter and starts to lift when spring is nearing on the calendar. Even in a place like sunny Florida, the lack of daylight can make you feel down and alter your behavior. Symptoms are felt most strongly until the days start to noticeably lengthen and bring more daylight back into your life.

Many people experience seasonal depression and cope, but someone who’s had depression in the past and has an addiction issue is more susceptible to SAD and is more likely to turn to substance use to feel better. Instead, be aware of signs that might indicate that you or someone you love might be suffering from seasonal depression.

3 Signs of Seasonal Depression

1. Seasonal Depression Causes Changes to Your Overall Mood

The DSM-5 classifies seasonal depression as a type of major depressive disorder with a seasonal pattern. Someone who has experienced and been diagnosed with seasonal depression is at an increased risk of turning to substance use to find relief. Seasonal depression and addiction are known co-occurring disorders that make it harder to combat the effects of depression on your mood. 

You may find that it’s more difficult to detect the oncoming of seasonal depression because the loss of daylight is measured in minutes on a daily basis. The seasonal loss of daylight begins after the summer solstice in June but doesn’t become noticeable until sometime in August. Meanwhile, your mood slowly deteriorates, and you don’t notice it right away. You start to feel symptoms that include:

  • Loneliness
  • Lack of interest
  • Highs and lows
  • A feeling of unease or malaise
  • Sadness
  • Apathy

2. Seasonal Depression Affects Your Body

Seasonal depression affects your body as well as your mind. It can cause pain or amplify a chronic pain condition, affect your ability to sleep on a regular schedule, cause weight gain, and make you feel tired all the time. The physical feelings of discomfort and irregular sleep can push you to drink alcohol or use substances to help you sleep and find relief from pain. When someone suffers from a mental illness like seasonal depression and has a substance abuse problem, it’s called a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders.

Combining addiction with seasonal depression can make physical and mental symptoms worse. Alcohol and certain drugs are central nervous system depressants and add or deepen the feelings caused by depression. 

3. Seasonal Depression Affects Your Ability to Socialize

Another sign of seasonal depression is a lack of desire to interact with others. You might find that you feel more irritable and short-tempered. When these feelings are combined with a lack of energy, you’re less likely to feel like socializing with your friends or engage yourself in work and activities. These feelings can also contribute to a need to escape or otherwise find release through addictive behaviors and lead to a dual diagnosis. 

At Lakeview Health, we provide therapy programs to help those with a dual diagnosis of seasonal depression and addiction. Some of our programs include:

Get Treatment for Seasonal Depression and Addiction at Lakeview Health Today

Are you or a loved one looking for help with seasonal depression and addiction? Lakeview Health offers multiple treatment programs that help you address the mental and physical conditions that come with these co-occurring disorders. Contact us today at 866.704.7692 or complete our secure online form if you feel you or someone you know is in need of professional support and assistance with these disorders. The journey to wellness begins by getting in touch with us at Lakeview Health and talking to our staff about getting an evaluation.