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Autumn Anxiety or Autumn Depression is Very Real and Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Autumn anxiety, autumn depression, or winter depression are all names that are commonly used for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression associated with the change of seasons, typically in autumn and winter due to the prolonged darkness and rain.

Modern city life can be very stressful. That’s why understanding the importance of mental wellbeing can help you discover problems early on, so you can seek treatment to get your mental wellbeing back on track in case it exacerbates.

In this Pacific Prime UK article, let’s take a closer look at the causes of SAD and things that you can do to prevent yourself from being sad.

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What is SAD and What Causes it?

SAD is a type of seasonal depression that is associated with the change of seasons. It is typically more common in autumn and winter as these seasons are characterized by longer and darker evenings. In the UK, this period also tends to have more rainfall than usual.

However, there are cases of SAD where people feel better during the winter and show symptoms of SAD during the summer.

The exact reason or cause for SAD is not fully understood but is often linked to the lack of sunlight during the shorter autumn and winter days. Note that the main theory revolves around the theory that reduced sunlight might affect a part of the brain called the hypothalamus from working properly.

Here are some of the side effects that are associated with a lack of sunlight:

High Production of Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone our brains create in response to darkness that helps control how and when you sleep. It makes you feel tired and sleepy. People suffering from SAD are likely to produce more melatonin than normal.

Low production of serotonin

Serotonin is a hormone that affects your mood, appetite, and sleep. It is thought that sunlight can trigger the release of serotonin. Reduced sunlight during the autumn and winter may lead to lower serotonin levels, which is linked to feeling down or depressed.

Change in the circadian rhythm (body’s internal clock)

The human body uses sunlight to time different important functions, such as waking up, so the reduced sun time during autumn and winter may disturb the body clock. This in turn may also lead to developing symptoms of SAD.

Should you see a GP for ‘autumn mood’ or SAD?

SAD can be just a temporary side effect of your mind and body coping to the change of seasons. However, there is still a chance that you cannot cope with the symptoms after a prolonged time. If you feel that you are not coping well with the symptoms you should seek help from your doctor.

Your doctors can help carry out an assessment of your physical and mental wellbeing and give you professional advice on treatments to help you with your conditions.

Here are some of the symptoms of SAD:

  • Constant low mood
  • Loss of interest in everyday activities
  • Feeling despair and lonely
  • Feeling lethargic
  • Sleeping longer than normal
  • Gaining weight
  • Decreased sex drive

What are the treatments for SAD?

There is no fixed treatment for SAD. However, there are common treatments that you can try to improve your mood. If you are suffering from prolonged “autumn depression”, seek professional advice from your doctors to find the best treatment for you.

Here are some of the common treatments:

  • Changes in lifestyle – Getting exposed to natural sunlight as much as possible, regular physical activity, and keeping your stress levels in check.
  • Light therapy – What do you do when there is no natural sunlight? The answer is light therapy; a special lamp called a light box is used to simulate exposure to sunlight.
  • Meeting a therapist – Similar to clinical depression, if you’re suffering from SAD, counseling and therapy can help boost your feelings and mood during the autumn season.
  • Medicine – Antidepressant medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can help.*

*As with any medication, it is recommended to consult with your doctor beforehand to determine if the medication is right for you. After thoroughly understanding your condition, your doctor will advise what is best for you.

Secure Medical Insurance with Coverage for Mental Health

Whether it’s seasonal depression or clinical depression, seeking help for mental health can often be expensive, which is why having comprehensive medical insurance is important. Mental health awareness is growing every day, and most insurers are including mental health services in their plans.

If you are looking for an insurance plan, Pacific Prime UK can help you find the right plan that meets your requirements and budget. From expat health insurance to family health insurance, our expert advisors are here to simplify your insurance process.

Get in touch with Pacific Prime UK for a FREE quote today!

Content Creator at Pacific Prime
Vista is a content creator at Pacific Prime. With over 8 years of writing experience for online platforms on various topics such as luxury lifestyle and digital entertainment. He enjoys diving into complex and otherwise confusing topics, and creating easy-to-understand content for the readers to help them navigate through the topic - something that’s perfectly aligned with Pacific Prime’s motto of ‘simplifying insurance’.

Born and raised in the cultural melting pot that is Hong Kong, and having studied at an international school, Vista has developed a multicultural perspective that he uses in his writing and strives to connect to people of different backgrounds.

In his free time, Vista enjoys immersing himself in different worlds, from video games to light novels and movies. His hobbies help him expand his writing style by putting himself in the point-of-view of different people and characters.
Vista Nip