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A number of different types of depression will hit this winter



This year is full of uncertainties and uncertainties, and the current election could increase the level of anxiety for many. For people with depression, they may feel additional pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic, while for others, depression may be something new to them. And as autumn turns winter, people may also begin to experience seasonal depression or seasonal emotional disturbances (SAD). As the country waits for a decision on the presidential election, experts warn that this could be a difficult season for many and have to plan.

Depression is a clinically diagnosed condition defined as a serious mood disorder in which symptoms such as “persistent sadness, anxiety or”

; empty “moods frequently experience during a long time. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms should be present for at least two weeks.

When the pandemic hit the country, people lost their jobs and millions were infected with coronavirus. Changes to living situations like work and health can cause stress and lead to anxiety and depression. In quarantine or being isolated from others can come at a cost. “With many people going through it at the same time, what you’re going through is increased stress,” Andrew Schwehm, a specialist in post-traumatic stress disorder, told Change America.

Ravi Shah, professor of psychiatry at Columbia University’s Irving Medical Center, writes: “This has been a challenging time for the nation for a number of reasons: mainly among them uncertainty. “There is uncertainty about our elections, coronaviruses, the economy, our schools and our future.”

A survey conducted in March to April showed a three-fold increase in prevalence of symptoms of depression in Americans compared to the pre-pandemic period. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that, from a survey conducted June 24 to 30 on more than 5,000 adults, “younger people, race / ethnic minorities, essential employees and people Unpaid adult care reported having experienced disproportionately worse mental health outcomes, increased use of stimulants elevates the idea of ​​suicide. “


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Seasonal depression can occur due to changes in daylight hours, increased darkness and colder weather, which can lead to more time indoors and possibly less time in nature.

“It is possible that people at risk of seasonal affective disorder may also be the ones that covid caused the depression,” said Lisa Carlson, president of the American Association of Public Health. The washington posts. “So we could have a lot of overlap on those.”

“I think there is an increased possibility of depression, especially since it’s linked to seasonal emotional disturbances,” says Vaile Wright, is the Senior Director for Health Care Innovation at the American Psychological Association. This is especially because being outdoors is a very important time off for most people during a pandemic, she added. When the weather gets colder, spending time outside may not be feasible for some.


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Mentally and physically

Recent cultural changes have made it more common to open up talking about depression, as well as the anxiety that can accompany it. Mental health not just about your state of mind; Mental health is associated with physical health.

“Throughout human history, we have relied on others for survival and closeness to others, especially trustworthy others, signals safety. So when we lack intimacy with trustworthy people, our brains and bodies can respond to high alertness, ”said Julianne Holt-Lunstad, professor of psychology at Brigham University. Young said. “This can lead to high blood pressure, stress hormones and an inflammatory response that, if going through a chronic phase, can put us at an increased risk of many chronic diseases.”

Some people may find it difficult to realize that the physical symptoms they are experiencing are related to their mental health. Race and ethnic minorities may not realize the need for mental health services until at high rates of physical symptoms occur. Research also shows that Loneliness is a risk factor that can lead to years of life loss in older adults.

Plan

Just as you can plan the health and safety of the growing cases of COVID-19 in your area, you can have a mental health plan. Find out what your therapy options are and whether you have access to low-cost services. You can also be prepared by identifying what is causing your symptoms.

The real goal, says Wright, is to focus on what you have in control. For example, if you know how the weather will change, you can adjust your schedule to try to maximize sunlight. “In all situations, depression and anxiety can manifest the same way, but the solutions can be different based on what you control and each one,” says Wright.

Experts who spoke to Change America previously said that SAD may not be formally diagnosed until it occurs for many years. In addition, it can be difficult to distinguish it from common depression. However, there are some suggestions about how to deal with seasonal depression if symptoms arise. For example, studies show that light therapy can make a difference in mood enhancement and cognitive performance. Light therapy lamps are commercially available, and psychiatrists Philip Gehrman The University of Pennsylvania recommends lamps with a brightness of 10,000 lux or higher. Screen time and blue light at night It can also affect sleep quality.

Whatever your current mental health state is, talk to a professional if you think you need help. “Get help if you need it,” says Shah. “This is a time of self-compassion and self-care.”

Affordable therapy services may be available in your state, and many therapists have offered virtual therapy sessions during a pandemic.

Shah also offers to join a project. We cannot continue to wait for a silver bullet or magic solution, he wrote. “Do something you can look back and say ‘In 2020, the world was crazy, but I did a positive thing.’

“The anxiety that people are feeling is normal, but I think it’s important to look to the future,” said Wright. For example, with election anxiety, there will be a presidential decision. We can plan for a point in the future when things will be different, with weather or election status. “It won’t feel like this forever,” added Wright.

More resources:

Mental Health Awareness Month Resources from American Hospital Association and Mental health in the United States

National suicide prevention hotlines (Hot line is 800-273-8255)

BIPOC mental health resources

Affordable therapy options now Open Path Collective with BIPOC therapists

Treatment for black girls on Instagram

Treatment for blacks

Melanin & Mental Health

Ethel’s Club

Asian Mental Health Project

Native Americans are concentrated One Sky Center

For updated information on COVID-19, check out the website of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization. For updated global cases count, check out this page maintained by Johns Hopkins University or COVID monitoring project.

You can follow me Chia-Yi Hou on Twitter.


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