Seasonal Depression | February 1, 2021
Seasonal affective disorder, also known by its abbreviated name – SAD, is a type of seasonal depression related to shifting seasons. In most cases, it affects people in the fall and winter months, but it can occur in spring and early summer sometimes. As advised by the Canadian Mental Health Association, this recognized type of clinical depression calls for professional diagnosis and treatment.
During the late fall and winter months, as days grow shorter and daylight becomes scarce, as much as 20% of Canadians of all ages experience mild to severe symptoms of winter-onset seasonal affective disorder.
Though seasonal depression is predominant in young adults, it affects seniors too. Older adults diagnosed with other types of depression can experience aggravated symptoms associated with the isolating effects of harsh winter months. Identifying and treating SAD is critical for older adults as they are an age group at greater risk of committing suicide, according to the Public Health Agency for Canada.
A person affected with this disorder will show signs typically associated with common depression such as sadness, anxiety, irritability, social withdrawal, loss of interest in normal activities, lack of concentration, and so on. Other symptoms of winter-onset seasonal depression include:
As winter-onset SAD is closely related to a decrease in daylight, it is more common in those living at higher latitudes. It is that very reduced exposure to sunlight that alters our biological clock that regulates mood, sleep cycles, and hormones. Another explanation is that the brain neurotransmitters may be altered in persons affected by SAD.
Light therapy that utilizes a specially designed lightbox, combined with antidepressants and behavioral therapy, is often recommended to fight off the effects of SAD. Other means of helping seniors prevent the rise of seasonal depression include:
At Comfort Keepers, our locally owned and operated Halifax office can deliver a support system designed to fight off depression and boost senior wellness. Our highly trained caregivers can provide your loved one with meaningful companionship and customized assistance with all sorts of activities of daily living. We help mitigate social isolation and help clients achieve and maintain the highest quality of life possible, continuing to live a healthy, happy life in their own home.
Contact Comfort Keepers in Halifax at 902-201-5522 to learn more about the benefits of scheduling in-home care for an elderly loved one in Nova Scotia and get started with your personalized care plan for Mom or Dad today.