Why can we feel like doing anything when autumn arrives?
What are the neurotransmitters serotonin, melatonin and dopamine?
Fall and winter depression , also called autumnal depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or seasonal affective syndrome is characterized by a number of psychosomatic disorders that occur in individuals as autumn advances, It lasts for the first months winter and usually subsides when the fine weather goes back .
Between 4 and 5% of the population is affected by this syndrome, although from 10 to 20% of patients do not have any kind of symptoms related to it. It is a problem that affects more women than men, especially those who are between 40 and 55 years . This type of depression does not only affect adults since it has been observed that between 1.7 and 5% of the population over 9 years may be affected.
It is one of the common causes of absenteeism and a major cause of suicides.
Depression usually lasts longer in people living in countries with less light, that is to say in those located further north.
It is considered to be a seasonal depression when disorders are not due to other external causes (such as drug ingestion or very traumatic personal events ) or internal causes , like other types of personality disorders.
Symptoms of fall depression
Among the many symptoms that affect this type of depression we can mention the following:
- Lack of interest in things or complete disinterest in all things, little desire to implement activities.
- Inability to sleep (insomnia) or need to sleep too much (hiperinsomnio)
- Trouble concentrating.
- Bad character. Irritability, moodiness, wish to be confined.
- Eating disorders: Need to be eating every hour (bulimia) or complete lack of appetite (anorexia). Weight gain or craving uncontrolled diets of strict dieting.
- Recurrent thoughts of suicide.
Causes of fall depression
Although no one knows exactly why this disorder occurs, it is believed that the main cause of fall depression are due to hormonal changes that the body experiences as a result of reduced sunlight which takes place with the change of seasons. Such changes might include the following:
- Increased melatonin: The increase that occurs in the body of this hormone as a result of decreased light seems to be responsible for the lack of interest, or the the urgent need to sleep for many hours.
Given that melatonin regulates body temperature, an increase of this hormone, besides causing drowsiness, decreases body temperature which leads to the need to eat more foods, especially high-caloric ones (high- fat food and high- carbohydrate foods) This seems to be the reason why many people feel a greater desire to eat sweet things during autumn-winter and it is also the main factor responsible for weight gain many people experience during these season.
- Decreased serotonin: Increasing melatonin involves the reduction of serotonin. This hormone is important in regulating mood and sleep-wake cycle. Good levels of serotonin are necessary for the body to be balanced. Providing adequate serotonin calms our personal mood , increases happiness and help us sleep well.
- Decreased Dopamine: Dopamine is another hormone that decreases with declining intensity of sunlight. The decrease of this hormone appears to be the most important cause of loss of attention, lack of concentration or lack of interest in things.
Treatment of fall depression
Any problems relating to depression should be treated by appropriate specialists. With the emergence of depressive symptoms there is a need for prompt medical attention to prevent the problem from getting worse.
Treatment of seasonal depression can present different approaches ranging from the use of antidepressants, with the intention of increasing the level of the neurotransmitter serotonin, the use of phototherapy or daily exposure to artificial light to make up for the lack of sunlight or the use of psychotherapy.
The natural treatment of seasonal depression involves using a series of natural resources that can help prevent or improve symptoms.
. More information about depression and its natural treatment in the listing above.