Are You Depressed? 4 Signs Your Winter Blues Might Be Something More

Can you predict your funk?
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Can you predict your funk?

If your low periods tend to come on a predictable schedule, it could be a seasonal depression or low. “Look for when your depressive moods tend to start,” says Matthew Nichols, PhD and licensed psychologist in New York City. “There are nine symptoms of major depression, and you have to have at least five for two weeks. The severity is greater than winter blues.” Episodes of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), while an actual type of depression, tend to be more cyclical as well, typically beginning in the autumn and then ending on their own in the spring. The nine symptoms of depression are:

  • Depressed mood or sadness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in things you used to enjoy
  • Weight change of five percent or more
  • Decrease or increase in the amount of sleep you usually experience
  • Psychomotor agitation (restlessness) or retardation (heavy limbs, apathy)
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Irrational feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Suicidal thinking or recurrent thoughts of death

“You can still have just a couple of these symptoms, and it can be very impairing,” says Nichols. “Don’t wait for all of those things to develop. Err on the side of caution and seek out a [mental health] practitioner before that happens.”