In true winter depression, therefore, there is a lack of serotonin, while at the same time circulating too much melatonin in the organism. The main culprit is the lack of light in winter. Seasonal depression differs from true depression, which is acute throughout the year and is not directly affected by light. Similarly, the "light deficiency depression" differs from the so-called "winter blues", a pure depressive mood. Because the latter form is also characterized by a small drive and a bad mood. But it is just a phase that passes relatively quickly. The winter depression, however, begins in the fall and usually ends in the spring as the days get longer and brighter.
What a winter depression can be seen
The true winter depression combines physical and emotional symptoms. The symptoms are quite varied and not all symptoms have to occur simultaneously. Nevertheless, it is advisable to consult a doctor as soon as you suspect that you have such a depression.
Accordingly, the fear of the future, the low level of drive, general tension and a changeable mood are the main psychological symptoms of a light-deficiency depression. Basically, the depressed mood prevails. People hardly feel pleasure, or not at all. In addition, in many cases a sense of hopelessness sets in. In contrast, a number of affected persons suffer from increased headaches, sweating attacks or cravings for high-calorie foods containing the pre-messenger tryptophan (eg chocolate, bananas ...).
How depression can be treated in winter
Especially recommended is the daily stay outdoors and in the fresh air, ideally at lunchtime. Because even in winter and overcast skies, most natural sunlight hits the retina during this period. Those who do this regularly help the body to get enough light to boost serotonin production.
However, if there is a suspicion that the disease has long been present and advanced, it is worth the trip to the doctor. After a consultation (anamnesis), he determines the possible therapy - provided that it is a true winter depression. The treatment depends mainly on the cause and severity of the depression. In principle, there are three options for therapy available:
- Light therapy
Usually, treatment with light lamps is the first choice of choice. In doing so, the patient regularly exposes himself to bright light. In the meantime the specialized trade offers corresponding daylight lamps, so that the lack of light can be compensated.
In addition, special medicines (eg selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are suitable for treating winter depression. These medicines help to increase the concentration of "happy hormones" and make signal transmission more efficient.
Treatment with psychotherapy is especially appropriate for serious cases. Together with appropriate drugs (antidepressants) can usually improve the feeling and overcome the winter depression.
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