Seasonal depression is a depressive disorder where the onset of symptoms is due to changes in seasons. There are two types of seasonal depression: Wintertime & Summertime. Wintertime depression is the most common type of seasonal depression.
Although the official cause of this disorder is unknown, it is thought to be caused by changes in Sunlight. The main theory is that lower levels of exposure to the sun somehow affects how the body regulates hormones which in turn affects both sleep and mood.
Writing About Seasonal Depression
As mentioned above there are two types of seasonal depression, each with slightly different symptoms.
A character with wintertime depression will experience the following symptoms:
- Lack of concentration
- Excessive fatigue during the day
- Lack of interest and enthriusm
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Lower sexual libido
- Weigh Gain
A character with summertime seasonal depression will experience the following symptoms:
- Lack of appetite
- Weight loss
- A lack of sleep
- Feeling agitated and restless
Symptoms of seasonal depression are experienced yearly with no specific trigger other than the change of seasons.
How can your character seek treatment?
If you decide to write about a character seeking treatment for seasonal depression, your character should first be diagnosed by a medical professional such as a psychiatrist.
Therapy can be used to treat both types of seasonal depression. However, for wintertime depression, light therapy can be administered. This is done with the use of a “lightbox” that replicates natural light. This type of treatment is usually administered for 30 min a day with the supervision of a medical professional.
Sometimes antidepressants such as Prozac or Wellbutrin can be used to treat symptoms of both types of seasonal depression.