Winter depression: food cravings and fatigue
Gray skies, drizzle, showers and slush: in winter, the view from the window is often enough to get you in a bad mood. Some people develop a seasonal depression or a so-called winter depression in the low-light year, which occurs depending on the season and is manifested by symptoms such as lack of energy, tiredness, extended sleep and cravings for carbohydrate-rich foods. Relief can include light therapy and outdoor walks.
Atypical symptoms also occur in winter depression. Winter depression (Seasonal Affective Disorder, SAD) is by no means a myth, but rather a recognized disease, which in the international classification of diseases (ICD-10) is assigned to the so-called "recurrent depressive disorders". In addition to the typical symptoms of depression, sufferers often also suffer from atypical symptoms such as headaches, longer sleep, cravings for sweets, indigestion and weight gain, reports Christa Roth-Sackenheim from the Professional Association of German Psychiatrists (BVDP) to the news agency "dpa". Anxiety and depression can also occur with SAD. In addition, the course of the depressive phases follows a seasonal pattern: in winter the symptoms are there, while they subside in spring. If this pattern occurs for at least two years, the diagnosis of SAD can be made unless other depressive episodes occur. For comparison: A non-seasonal depression can occur at any time and is usually characterized by loss of appetite, weight loss and a shortened sleep duration due to sleep disorders.
Alleviate winter depression with light therapy and walks outdoors If you suffer from winter depression, you should consider light therapy. After getting up, the person concerned sits in front of a special 10,000 lux lamp about 30 minutes a day. Every 90 seconds, the patient has to look into the light at a distance of one meter for about three seconds. According to the BVDP, activating impulses are transmitted to the brain via the retina. The therapy has hardly any side effects. However, dry eyes and headaches can occur. In order not to shift the day-night rhythm, light therapy should not be carried out in the evening.
Outdoor walks can also help. Many naturopaths also advise you to expose yourself to sensory stimuli in the low-light season. Among other things, these can be colorful bath products that are available, for example, in health food stores and have a positive effect on mental and physical well-being. Aromatic oils for the bath water, the fragrance lamp or as body oil can also lighten the mood. Lavender is considered soothing and balancing. Bergamot, geranium, patchouli, verbena, palmerosa, neroli, rosewood, orange and lemon are also said to drive away melancholy, dejection and lack of drive in a winter depression. (ag)
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