Can COVID-19 Cause Seasonal Affective Disorder? Experts Weigh In
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The risk may be even higher considering the upcoming holiday season and the fact that most of us won’t be able to celebrate it as usual by visiting our loved ones and keeping other traditions. Furthermore, a decrease in income or even a job loss can only make holidays feel even more depressing.
Aside from social withdrawal, these are the most common symptoms of SAD:
- Unexplained fatigue and low energy
- Hypersomnia (excessive sleepiness during the day)
- Sudden cravings for carbohydrates
- Unexplained weight gain
Do these signs sound familiar? That may be because they’re also part of the symptomatology for depression. In fact, specialists label SAD as a milder form of depression itself; what differentiates it from actual depression is that it is predictable, which is also a huge factor for putting the right diagnosis.
Treatment and prevention
If you’ve ever suffered from depression or going through a very stressful time this season, it’s best to keep an eye on your mental and emotional state in the following months. The best way to prevent this condition is to prioritize self-care.
As Dr. Hulkow points out, one may not always be able to prevent or control their emotional state. However, he recommends that you follow general guidelines on staying healthy both mentally and physically: adopting a healthy diet, creating a balanced sleep schedule and taking time to practice what you love most.
What’s equally important, Dr. Hulkow says, is to stay as close as possible to your loved ones. You can maintain a healthy relationship by creating new habits such as virtual meetings, video calls and new traditions.
Since Halloween is just around the corner, our Halloween safety guidelines for 2020 may also give you some ideas on how to enjoy this holiday with your family and friends safely.
Build up your immunity
Therapist Sharnade George also suggest taking preparation for the SAD season just as seriously as you’d prepare for the flu, especially since the two are also connected.
If you feel that you’re emotionally unstable or need additional help to manage your mental state, the best thing you can do is to ask for professional help from a therapist. If you’re already attending therapy sessions, here are 7 signs that your therapy sessions are worth it.
Other common treatments that keep your mind and body healthy include vitamin D supplementation, massage therapy and antidepressant selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) if your doctor recommends them.
One of the most effective methods of prevention, though, is to simply improve your immune system as much as possible naturally. Having strong immunity can guard you from the common cold, flu and may even improve your mood in time.
Need any help in strengthening your immune system? Our post right here offers a selection of expert-approved tips that keep disease at bay and help you live a healthier life overall.
The relationship you have with your spouse can also have a huge positive impact especially now that most of us are spending more time together at home. Here are 4 ways to maintain a healthy relationship this pandemic.
What are you doing to uplift your mood during this difficult season? Share your tips in the comment section and let’s help each other smile more and stay strong during the last months of 2020!