Anyone prone to depressive symptoms during winter should take the problem seriously. How can you prevent winter depression?
Many people are not as alert during the dark season as they are during spring and summer. Winter depression, technically known as “seasonal affective disorder,” isn't just mild fatigue. Sufferers suffer several weeks of depression, attention deficits, concentration problems and other depressive symptoms during the fall and winter months, which are usually only alleviated by targeted therapy. After that, it is important to prevent relapse.
On the one hand, it is important to continue the treatment prescribed by the doctor. On the other hand, certain practical measures can help reduce the risk of recurrent depressive episodes.
Prevent winter depression with long-term treatment
Winter depression is usually treated with light therapy, psychotherapy, and/or certain medications (antidepressants). These measures not only provide acute, short-term relief, but can also be used long-term.
It is useful and advisable for frequently recurring depressive symptoms: scientific studies show that long-term psychotherapy in particular can help prevent relapses – known as relapse prevention. The therapist can assess how long the continuance will last and how well it should be structured.
Whether and to what extent light therapy can prevent the recurrence of winter depression has not yet been adequately researched. At least this type of treatment can be very easily integrated into everyday life: sufferers can make it a habit to sit in front of a daylight lamp for half an hour to an hour each day after waking up.
Prevent winter depression – exercise is also recommended
In addition to professional treatment, lifestyle management is also important to prevent the common mood of winter depression. A regular daily routine, regular contact with loved ones and sports or exercise are beneficial for a stable psyche.
Based on previous studies, it is not possible to say with certainty which sport is suitable and at what intensity and frequency of training. It is clear that this depends on the individual health conditions and preferences of the sufferers. That is why it is better to consult your doctor about it. Especially for those who are new to sports, it is better to practice under professional guidance.
Instead of sports, light physical exercise such as regular walks in the fresh air is also beneficial.