Now the clocks have gone back, the nights are getting longer, darker and colder. Understandably this can make many of us feel a little bit glum. For some however, the change in season signals a deeper shift to depression.
Seasonal affective disorder, commonly known as SAD, is a form of depression that affects people in the winter months.
The cause is unknown, however it is believed to be linked to reduced sunlight and how this affects the brain’s melatonin and serotonin levels.
Serotonin is known as the ‘happy’ chemical. Serotonin levels drop when the days get shorter, while melatonin levels (the chemical that helps us sleep) rise. In some people, this combination leads to depression.
There are various symptoms of SAD, including:
- persistent low mood
- loss of pleasure/interest in everyday activities
- loss of libido
- feeling less sociable
- low self-esteem
- feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- high stress and anxiety levels.
If you think you may be suffering from SAD, it’s important to see your doctor for a diagnosis.
There are several treatment options for SAD including talking therapies, medication and light therapy. A complementary therapy many find useful in the treatment of this form of depression is hypnotherapy.
The aim of hypnotherapy for SAD is to reframe your perception of this time of year for a more positive and relaxed state of mind. The mind tends to revert to previous patterns of thought when certain situations arise. This means, when winter comes around, it will revert to the way it previously reacted. Hypnotherapy tries to alter this pattern to help you gain more control.
Using positive suggestions while in a state of hypnosis, your hypnotherapist will encourage you to react in a more positive and relaxed way to the shorter days. When used alongside conventional depression treatments, hypnotherapy can alleviate and improve symptoms.