Seasonal depression is expected to peak this week, one study says. Here’s what can help fight it

Being born and raised in Chicago, Leo Guzman is used to the change in seasons. But as a teenager, he noticed that during the changing of fall to winter he started “feeling a little off.”

“I definitely do feel the changes that the seasons bring,” said Guzman, who was diagnosed with Seasonal Affect Disorder.

The Mayo Clinic describes Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, as a type of depression specifically related to changes in seasons that begins and ends around the same time each year.

“If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody,” a post from the clinic said.

Nationwide counseling center Thriveworks said the disorder — with symptoms like feelings of hopelessness, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, changes in eating patterns and loneliness — typically peaks in November.

“This week in particular is the peak of SAD,” said Logan Spicer, a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor at Thriveworks said, referring to the second full week on November.

The prediction, a Thriveworks report said, comes from a Google Trends analysis.

“According to our analysis, this year in 2023, we can expect seasonal depression to reach its peak in the second full week of November,” the report said. “This is the time of year that, historically, people start searching for more information regarding the topic.”

“Currently, 2023’s search trends are tracking to hit 33.34% higher than in 2021 and 2.44% higher than just last year in 2022,” the report added.

According to experts, there are several ways to combat it, including avoiding alcohol, setting a regular sleep schedule, getting enough natural sunlight and exercise.

“I make it a point to walk 15 minutes whether its cold or not,” Guzman said. “Just do it.”

Other tips for fighting SAD include setting up social activities, journaling and using a SAD lamp, Thriveworks said.

“Be social, even if you don’t like it,” Spicer said.

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