‘Winter blues’ real for those at risk for depression
With daylight saving time in place and winter weather coming in, some area citizens might begin to suffer from a type of major depression brought on by changes in season. Those suffering from major depressive episodes that regularly occur seasonally can be diagnosed with a major depressive disorder with a seasonal specifier, according to Collin Bohlke, outpatient therapist at Seasons Center.
“With major depressive disorder with the specifier of a seasonal piece, what we’re looking at is that you’re meeting the full criteria for a major depressive disorder or episode, but only within the changing of those seasons — so when we go into fall and winter,” Bohlke said. “That has to happen, and it has to happen within a two-year period. So you have the shifts, within a two-year period, and when it gets to the nicer times, like spring or summer, then the depression remits or goes away.”
Whether specified as seasonal or not, Bohlke said depression is a serious issue facing Americans today, and shared the signs that an individual or a loved one is suffering from depression.
“For symptoms of depression, we’re looking at the feeling of depression most of the day, everyday,” Bohlke said. “We’re looking at issues with sleep, whether that be a lot of sleep or not enough sleep at all, pretty much sleep problems (in general). Low energy and fatigue, feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness, loss in interest and pleasure in things that you used to like to do, experiencing changes in your appetite and/or your weight; issues with concentration, and if you are having thoughts or feelings of wanting to kill or hurt yourself, those are more immediate things. If you have any thoughts or feelings about that and you’re serious, go to your hospital or ER.”
Bohlke said depression and anxiety are two health issues Americans commonly suffer today.
“Statistically, depression and anxiety are the most common health issues that we face in our nation,” Bohlke said. “Do I (personally) see depression and anxiety a lot? Yeah, absolutely.”
He continued, “It’s hard when you suffer from mental illness because most of the time no one can see that. You’re fighting your own internal battle, and that’s difficult.”
Bohlke suggested that recently there has been an increase in those suffering from depression seeking medical and professional help, and that someone who thinks they may be suffering from depression, whether seasonal or otherwise, should start a dialog with their doctor.
“If you’re suffering from depression, I think a conversation with your doctor is good,” Bohlke said.
Those experiencing suicidal thoughts or actions should call the Seasons Center Crisis Line (available seven days a week, 24/7 toll free) at 800-242-5101, option 8, or contact local emergency services at 911.