Have you ever experienced the blues during the winter? At times the short, colder days can have a significant impact on our moods and daily lives. This type of depression is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. Research has also found a link between Seasonal Affective Disorder and Addiction.
It is important to recognize Seasonal Affective Disorder as playing a role in a recovering addict’s life, and how they are affected emotionally and psychologically.
Seasonal Affective Disorder can be defined as “a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons” according to the Mayo Clinic. It is estimated that Seasonal Affective Disorder affects about 10 million Americans. This type of depression comes and goes with the seasons, and appears to be more intense during the later fall and winter months.
The exact cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder is unknown, however, there are some risk factors. Some of the attributes of Seasonal Affective Disorder include age, bipolar disorder, having depression, gender, where you are located globally, and family history.
There are additionally some contributing factors to one feeling “seasonally down.” Melatonin and serotonin fluctuations play a significant role. Increased melatonin levels can leave one feeling sleepy and more lethargic. Low serotonin contributes to a dysregulation in the mood.
A person’s biological clock can also be affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Some of the symptoms that appear with seasonal affective disorder include:
Research suggests a link between Seasonal Affective Disorder and addiction. This is not to say that Seasonal Affective Disorder causes addiction, or that addiction causes Seasonal Affective Disorder. However, there is an interplay between the two.
Often times co-occurring disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder, are prevalent with a substance abuse disorder. Co-occurring disorders refer to mental health conditions that coexist with substance use disorder. Often it is by self-medicating that further exasperates feelings of depression and sadness.
One study looked at an individual who was a cocaine user and experienced the cyclical fluctuations in cravings and mood. They also found the patients’ circadian rhythm as well as their melatonin levels were off and may have heavily influenced the seasonal patterns experienced.
Another study found that alcoholism and Seasonal Affective Disorder have been found to have a link. There are also additional contributing factors such as environment and genetics that can play a part as well. Research has found in some individuals drinking patterns that indicated heavier drinking during the colder seasons.
Ultimately, it is important to recognize that seasonal affective disorder can affect those in recovery. It is important to gain a more informed idea about ways in which you can be of support.
Here at BTG, we are aware that co-occurring disorders are often present with substance abuse disorder. We work to address underlying issues such as depression, anxiety, trauma with the modalities that we offer.
We value individualized care and quality services that help address the full person. Seasonal depression and addiction can be depleting, but with our multi-dimensional approach, we work to restore lives emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
For more information about seasonal affective disorder click here.
If you or are a loved one are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, contact us now! We are here to answer your questions and provide you with the support you need. 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
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