Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that affects some people around the same time each year e.g. at the start of fall or winter. This type of seasonal depression often goes away once the season changes.
There are various reasons explaining why seasonal depression happens including:
- Change in melatonin levels which in turn negatively impacts an individual’s mood and sleep pattern.
- Change in the circadian rhythm caused by reduced sunlight disrupts a person’s internal clock making them moody and lethargic.
- A drop in serotonin levels affects an individual’s mood, appetite and sleep leading to depression.
Seasonal Depression and Alcohol Abuse
The symptoms of seasonal depression can be unpleasant, driving individuals to take alcohol in an attempt to feel better. Additionally, the winter season comes with plenty of holidays, celebrations and parties which often involve alcohol, encouraging people to drink more. Unfortunately, alcohol is a depressant and after the initial high wears off, the person often feels worse with increased gloominess, anxiety and depression. This only worsens the situation for those struggling with seasonal depression.
The key to dealing with SAD is learning how to avoid triggers by improving one’s lifestyle as well as by seeking appropriate treatment.
5 Tips to Avoid Triggers
Getting at least 30 minutes of exercise daily can boost your serotonin and mood. Exercising outdoors when the weather allows is a great way to get some sunlight and it’ll make you feel better.
Get as much sun as you can
Increasing your exposure to natural light has been shown to have a positive effect on your mood. So open up the blinds, go for a walk outside and find other ways to increase your vitamin D from the sun.
When there isn’t any natural sunlight available, a light box can come in handy. This is a device that emits light designed to mimic sunlight and it’s recommended that those struggling with seasonal depression sit in front of one for about 20-30 minutes after waking up.
Make time for socializing
Another great way to cheer you up while keeping your mind off alcohol is by spending time with your family and loved ones. Instead of isolating yourself indoors when the weather becomes cold, find some enjoyable group activities to engage in.
If you’re dealing with seasonal depression and alcohol addiction, we at the Robert Alexander Center for Recovery can help. We have various addiction treatment programs to help people struggling with a dual diagnosis starting with a detox program and then following with either intensive outpatient treatment or an outpatient treatment program. We also have a family therapy program for families that have been affected by alcoholism
We at the Robert Alexander Center for Recovery in Kentucky care about you and are ready to help you recover from alcohol addiction. Get in touch with us today.