Seasonal Blues: When is it Something More
Submitted by Elizabeth Kapp, JMU Intern with Family Youth Initiative
Winter can be a season that gets people feeling down. During the colder months of the year, you may find yourself staying in more and feeling less motivated. While many people may think that their mood generally decreases during the long fall and winter months, is there a line between what is expected during that time and what is unhealthy?
A major difference between experiencing the blues and a having a depressive episode is when symptoms last two weeks or more. These symptoms include:
- A depressed mood
- A markedly diminished interest in all or almost all activities
- Significant weight gain or loss, or significant decrease or increase in appetite
- Insomnia or hypersomnia (over-sleeping)
- A feeling of moving in slow-motion
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Inability to concentrate or being unusually indecisive
- recurring thoughts of death.
Depressive episodes can occur in a seasonal pattern. This regular pattern typically consists of a depressive episode starting in Fall or Winter, followed by a full remission in Spring or Summer and can occur over multiple years. The difference between having a lowered mood and having a depressive episode is that