Your Winter Service Berlin

Winter Depression

Winter depression is a seasonal depression which can occur in autumn and in winter. What is typical for a depression is when people become extremely irritable, anxious and experience a lack of initiative. What is not typical for a depression, however, is a craving for carbohydrates and weight gain, by which it is usually accompanied.

Disruptions of the biological daily rhythm are generally considered to be the cause for winter depression. The explanation is that due to the fact that it is darker for longer periods during the day in winter, greater amounts of melatonin, the hormone that is responsible for fatigue, are produced and that this results in a lower serotonin level, which is responsible for being awake.

This is the starting-point for the treatment of a winter depression. Less severe cases can be treated by explaining the reasons for the depression to the patient or having the patient is physically active in the morning hours, which is bound to eliminate fatigue. It also helps to reduce darkness, as for example switching on the light when one wakes up. This is bound to have a positive effect, even if the person remains in bed. This is the approach that light therapy takes, where special devices are used to simulate “sunny” days, thus liberating the body from a winter depression. That is why visiting a solarium can have such a positive effect on the person’s outlook.

A treatment that uses medication can fall back on compounds that increase the sensitivity to light, which includes St. John’s Worth. After an in-depth consultation with a physician other medications can also be used which have been successfully tested against winter depressions, including Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI), Noradrenalin Reuptake Inhibitors (NARI), Serotonin Noradrenalin Reuptake
Inhibitors (SNRI) or the selective Noradrenalin – Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitor Bupropion (NDRI) which targets winter depressions in particular.

If people are of the opinion that these mood enhancers are too dangerous they can try using natural remedies or outdoor physical activity and a lot of light, even if it is artificial - or taking a vacation in the southern hemisphere during the winter time, when it is summer there. Medically it has not been determined yet wheter simple herbs such as St. John’s Wart can really help, but trials prove that they are effective when the depression is not severe; other trials have shown that there is no improvement. Maybe it is simply good to know that spring always follows after winter.