We are amid the holiday celebrations and the official start of winter today. December 21st marks the winter solstice (the shortest day of the year). Some may experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in the upcoming three months. Some people may spend more time inside due to earlier sunsets, longer evenings, and colder climates,

But…

Some people report feeling not so good in the winter, especially if they reside in an area with frequent climatic changes and dark winters. Some claim that it feels “like hibernation” and can interfere with their daily lives. We refer to this as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This has also been referred to as having “Winter Depression” or “Winter Blues.”

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of seasonal depression that affects 12 Million people across Northern Europe and 2 Million people in the UK.

People with SAD experience a change in personality at the same time every year, losing interest in social activities, undergoing eating and sleeping issues, or other things they once found enjoyable. Similar to seasonal depression, PTSD patients experience seasonal affective disorder. If you are a trauma survivor, it’s the anniversary of your trauma which sets off your symptoms, not the weather.

So, without further ado, let’s look at seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a brief recap of trauma-driven PTSD, personal injury trauma and how they correlate and affect each other!

Seasonal Affective Disorder Affects 10-20% of People Worldwide

Seasonal Affective Disorder

An imbalance in the brain’s biochemistry causes seasonal affective disorder. Shorter daylight hours and less exposure to sunlight, which your body needs as a cue to generate chemicals and hormones that indicate whether you should be awake or asleep, cause SAD.

Sunlight activates the hypothalamus, a brain region regulating mood, appetite, and sleep. Lack of the sun and issues with specific brain chemicals in SAD patients prevent the hypothalamus from functioning properly, and therefore impact:

  • The process of melatonin synthesis (a hormone that affects sleep)
  • Disturb the body’s circadian rhythm (or internal clock, which controls several biological activities, including mood, sleep, digestion, appetite and energy levels throughout 24 hours)
  • The process of serotonin synthesis (a hormone that regulates mood, appetite and sleep)

SAD is four times more common in women than men, and those who live further from the equator are more prone to experience it. The risk for SAD increases with age, peaking between the age of 18 and 30.

Attention deficit, indecision, sleep disturbance, eating disorder, weight and energy loss, anxiety, and restlessness are some symptoms that indicate a seasonal affective disorder. Although these behaviours are also related to wintertime blues, they may also be connected to SAD if the severity doesn’t die over time.

Noticing any symptoms? Prioritise your mental health and contact us!

A Recap of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD stems after experiencing or witnessing a trauma, defined as a circumstance that puts someone’s safety at risk, the safety of others around them, or both in peril. PTSD, a mental health condition, can make it difficult to perform daily tasks, hold down a job, and maintain healthy connections with friends and family.

The primary symptoms of PTSD are vivid flashbacks, avoidance, hyperarousal, and depressive mood swings. It’s very typical for people to have these symptoms after a distressing event. However, when PTSD coexists with despair, anxiety, stress, and substance abuse, it develops into complex PTSD.

There are several self-help strategies you can employ to deal with PTSD. Complex relational trauma is frequently interpreted as complex post traumatic stress disorder (Complex PTSD/ C-PTSD) and vice versa, relating it to seasonal affective disorder. Professional help is advised if these symptoms don’t go away on their own or with help from friends and family.

Noticing any symptoms? Prioritise your mental health and contact us!

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Anniversary of Your Personal Injury Trauma

It is never simple to deal with the fallout after a catastrophic personal injury incident, especially when it causes mental distress. If you have been a victim, please understand that there is hope and that recovery is possible. Make sure to take the necessary actions to give your loved one the help they require if you are the family of someone who developed PTSD after a personal injury, SAD, or both.

If a person has experienced trauma over the winter, their SAD symptoms may become more severe. Survivors of personal injury accidents frequently feel a form of depression when minute things change around them. These mood changes trigger memories, thoughts of what happened, and any suffering experienced.

One thing you can do, as a survivor, is identify your triggers and develop coping mechanisms for them. However, it is around this time of the year that many people can benefit from a conversation buddy because winters can be hard. Therapy is a healthy method to work through emotions and get encouraging, practical guidance.

Noticing any symptoms? Prioritise your mental health and contact us!

Connection Between the SAD, PTSD and Personal Injury

Even among mental health experts and researchers, the links between the three conditions—SAD, trauma from personal injury, and trauma-driven PTSD—are murky. Nevertheless, complex relational trauma is frequently translated as a complex post-traumatic stress disorder and vice versa. Additionally, complex relational trauma contributes to and exacerbates seasonal affective disorder.

People who experience seasonal affective disorder have experienced some abuse or trauma. It is inferred that trauma can alter someone’s brain and psychological development. But remember that not everyone suffering from SAD has experienced complex trauma. Only the likelihood of developing the seasonal affective disorder increases if you are a trauma survivor, emerging from abuse, personal injurycatastrophe or loss of a loved one.

Winter Solstice 2022

Connection Between the SAD, PTSD and Personal Injury

If you are feeling depressed during seasonal changes, it’s a classic symptom of seasonal affective disorder. While this form of depression is short-run, experts believe that regardless of its type, depression can limit one’s ability to live life to the fullest. Some believe that SAD Lamp treatment eases their symptoms. Others think that treatments for seasonal affective disorder, like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and antidepressants, are the same as those for other types of depression.

However, there are certain things you may do on your own to ease the symptoms of SAD. These suggestions can assist you in taking care of yourself during the winter, even if you don’t experience SAD. Here are five self-help suggestions to get you started:

Step Outside During the Day

If the shorter daylight hours make you feel down, try to enjoy them and get outside whenever possible. Your body will receive the light it needs even on an overcast day. Wrap up comfortably and venture out, whether it’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning or something you squeeze into your lunch break

Make Your Surroundings Cheery

Try to allow as much natural light as possible into your workspace if you work inside. Open any blinds or drapes and take a seat beside a window. Consider adding indoor plants to your space to make you feel more connected to nature and make your surroundings brighter.

Winter Solstice 2022

Eat and Drink Healthily

A healthy, balanced diet is crucial to ensuring that your brain receives all the nutrients it needs to function correctly. To keep your brain energised and hydrated throughout the day, try to eat frequently and in small amounts. Alcohol should be avoided as well because it can exacerbate your symptoms.

Work Out, Preferably Outside!

Your sleep quality can also be improved by exercise. If you’re feeling down, stepping outside and moving could help you forget about your problems and improve your mood. It doesn’t have to be strenuous; if you feel up to it, go for a walk, a slow jog, or a bike ride.

Visit Your Loved Ones

Social interaction has been demonstrated to improve mental health and combat the winter blues. Accept any invites you to receive to social gatherings and try to stay in touch with the people you care about, even if it’s just for a short while.

Final Remarks

Understanding the connection between the ongoing effect of traumas we have experienced and aspects of winter or the change of the seasons that trigger us is the first step in coping with SAD and recognising the dampening of mood.

To meet our individual needs—those of our former selves who endured trauma and those of our current selves who are healing from trauma—we must commit to new behaviours and self-care methods. If you still feel you would rather speak to an expert who can help you identify coping mechanisms, we have experienced trauma therapists. You can take the first step using experts help!

Give us a Phone Call or Contact Us to get the RIGHT Help.

Prioritise your Mental Health.

Give us a Phone Call or Contact Us from getting the RIGHT Help.

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