Can Seasonal Depression Be Affecting Your ADHD?

If you have ADHD, you already know how deeply it can affect your life. Impulsivity, having trouble prioritizing tasks, being disorganized, and having poor time management skills can affect every part of your waking life. While there are natural ADHD meds and many other treatments on the market, what you may not realize is that these symptoms can become even worse if you also deal with seasonal depression.

What Is Seasonal Depression?

Seasonal depression is the colloquial term for seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. This type of depression diagnosis is related to the changes in the seasons. Most often, people who experience seasonal depression notice symptoms that start during the fall months and extend through winter. They’ll typically begin to feel an increase in energy and positive mood when spring starts to arrive. Sometimes, though, people experience SAD in the spring and summer months with an increase in a positive mood during the fall and winter months. People who experience symptoms of depression more than two seasons in a row are eligible to be diagnosed with SAD.

What many people don’t realize is that people who have ADHD or ADD often experience seasonal affective disorder at a disproportionately higher rate than people who don’t have ADHD or ADD. Typically, this creates a new set of challenges for people who experience both. In addition to the anxiety and depression that come with SAD, people who have ADHD may notice they are feeling more overwhelmed and struggling to manage their daily tasks, including sleeping and eating properly. 

Strategies To Help

If you are experiencing both seasonal affective disorder and ADHD, it’s important to do what you can to manage your symptoms. Perhaps the best thing you can do for yourself during this time is to make sure that you are getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep can exacerbate symptoms and make you feel more depressed or anxious than usual. There are several other things you can do as well.

  • Exercise – Getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day can help to boost your mood due to the release of endorphins. Whether you head to the gym or go for a walk, try to exercise daily.
  • Eating Well – Proper nutrition is important for keeping moods even when you have SAD and ADHD. Limiting your sugar intake will help to prevent crashes. Aim for healthy, balanced meals such as fish, fresh berries, seeds, and nuts. Avoid too many processed foods, which often have hidden sugars and other unimpressive ingredients that can lead to crashes.
  • Therapy – Cognitive-behavioral therapy, which focuses on a person’s thoughts, feelings, and actions is often helpful for getting through bouts of seasonal depression.
  • Medication – OTC anxiety meds or prescription medications for anxiety, depression, and ADHD can help you to get through the down seasons when you have seasonal depression. Talk to your doctor to determine what the best course of action is for you in terms of medication.

If you think that you may be suffering from ADHD, seasonal depression, or both, it is important to talk to your doctor about your options. Reading ADHD medication reviews for adults can also help you to determine the right path to get you feeling better, even during an off season.

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