Depression of Winter

Depression of Winter Seasonal Affective Disorders

Depression in winter is a specific form of depression and is part of the so-called seasonal affective disorders. Meaning those that “seem” to be caused by weather conditions and implicitly by seasons.

I say that they “seem” to be caused because, in reality, they are not. The American Psychiatric Association states that seasonal affective disorders , in fact, a sign of major depression or bipolar disorder. So they not caused by seasonal changes and temperature changes. But they exist in a context and are only influenced by the mentioned meteorological conditions.

Thus, the majority of those who suffer from seasonal affective disorders suffer from major depressive disorders. And a percentage of 20% if they do not already have or can develop bipolar disorder (manic – depressive).

Depression of Winter

Although seasonal affective disorders have been formally described and named since 1984, in the DSM IV Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illness, Seasonal Affective Disorders are an important sign of major depression, and are therefore not a major disorder. self-standing.

Most specialty papers when talking about seasonal affective disorders refer to winter depression. But experience shows that there are a significant number of people suffering from spring or summer depression more than the rest of the year. The symptoms of these types of depression in spring and summer are slightly different from those of winter depression, namely: low food appetite, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, etc.

Winter depression, in general, can have the following symptoms:

  • weight in the morning awakening
  • drowsiness throughout the day, difficulty concentrating attention and efficiently performing daily tasks

tendency to sleep longer

  • low energy level and, hence, lack of motivation and postponement tendency
  • Difficulty withstanding low temperatures .(People often complain that they do not like winter and cannot bear the cold. Acomplaint that becomes a valid argument for withdrawing into the house or limiting outings and activities outside the house)
  • the need to eat more, especially the need arises: sugar, alcohol and fast food from which weight gain derives and can enter the vicious circle of a bad disposition generated by weight gain …
  • withdrawal itself, avoiding friendly, social and even family activities.

It can be observed that it is quite easy to confuse winter depression with the lower overall tone .Which is very natural in winter, due to: low temperatures which, doctors say, increase blood pressure, make thought difficult and cause apathy. Shorter and cloudier days where, in the absence of light, some studies show, it would stimulate the secretion of melatonin (the sleep hormone).

Winter Tune

In short, it  natural and logical for this “winter tune” to appear because the body programmed to sleep – with the slowing down of vital functions – when it  dark and bringing it into the dark  an action against the physiology that has the consequence slow down naturally because the functions are still slow and their activation will occur slower as daylight appears.

At the beginning of history people respected the biological rhythm of the organism, so that in winter the activities decreased considerably. Probably that is why, in winter depression (but understood here as the natural reduction of tonus in winter) it also called a hibernation reaction.

In conclusion, how can we figure out if it is just a reaction of the body to cold weather or is it something more – a depression?

Seasonal Disorders

If, however, you find pleasure in the ordinary activities, if you have not retired at home because you do not want to see anyone, if the general attitude is more positive than the negative, if you can fulfill your family, professional duties, etc. even if your energy level is lower and your activities are no longer as numerous as in other seasons, you are just in tune with your body’s needs to be slower when it’s cold outside.

But if the above things do not happen and, in addition, they also characterize negative thoughts and feelings of meaninglessness, uselessness, lack of value, deep sadness, loneliness, inability to get out of bed and fulfill those simpler routine activities then it is the case to call for specialized help.

Now that the two concepts – winter depression as a sign of a major depressive condition or manic-depressive disorder and the natural reaction of the hibernating organism in winter –  more clearly delimited to see what can done in each of the two cases.

Seasonal Affective Disorders

If you suspect that it is not just a “seasonal sloth”, go directly to the family doctor who can refer you to a psychologist or psychiatrist, or if you have more information call a psychotherapist who can help you alone. or a psychiatrist who can help you overcome your difficulties at the moment with the help of medication.

Both variants are welcome and together they are excellent.

If it is only a lazy season, my advice is to “be gentle with you” and accept this healthy limit of the body, for sure, if the context of your life allows it.


What can you try for yourself?

  • to monitor your diet discreetly so as not to slip into the vicious circle of eating fastfood that causes the accumulation of kg. and by default, low self-image as a result of fattening. This could turn a seasonal sloth into a form of depression
  • attention to alcohol consumption which also helps to accumulate kg. and not only nutritionists say that banana and chocolate are foods that contain serotonin – the hormone that gives us a good mood and increases our ability to focus attention – and consumed to the extent it can help us in the winter
  • one of the causes of seasonal apathy being the absence of light, a good advice – for anyone who can follow it – is to make the most of the natural light of winter afternoons and, if you can, go for a walk during lunch, an hour or at least 30 minutes daily
  • as much as possible, do not give up on the pleasant activities of free time and, it is preferable to be carried out with friends or family

Attempt can do

  • if for various reasons you are alone it is time to activate the social support network – you can do this under the guidance of a psychologist or simply check the agenda and try to reactivate the connection with older knowledge that may have been overlooked.
  • in winter it a good opportunity for people alone – and not only – to get involved in charitable activities; to give, to create joy for a child or an old man during the holidays creates us positive emotions and, implicitly, positive states, in addition it is an opportunity to make new acquaintances that can become friends
  • physical movement, at the gym or outdoors, can help
  • movies with a positive message as a stimulus for the brain create positive thoughts, positive emotions and, implicitly, positive states. I recommend an example: for 10 days only watch the comedies without saying this to the acquaintances and then check your mood through their feed back.


In conclusion, winter depression or hibernation reaction and, in general, any worse condition in any season, should be treated with a more detached attitude on our part. The general tendency is to condemn us because we feel in a certain way less good or to panic; Both tendencies create a plus – often obsessively – of negative thoughts and emotions . That, not only maintain but also aggravate the condition, and, what could have been a moment. A lazy season, a natural reaction of the body stress or fatigue can turn into something more serious. More unpleasant and harder to treat – a depression.

Of course, the detached attitude towards the stupid state does not exclude the need. For a specialized counsel of a psychotherapist and / or psychiatrist to resolve the situation as quickly and correctly as possible.


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