One of the more noticeable things that our drivers experience is how, immediately after starting a journey to a patient doctor visit or medical procedure, our clients tend to perk up. It's always the fresh air, the sun, the wind, the smell of the season. It's not hard to miss, the natural elixir of being "out' from wherever they were "in".
Seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a type of mood disorder that occurs during certain seasons of the year, usually winter. It is characterized by symptoms such as low mood, loss of interest, fatigue, insomnia, appetite changes, and irritability. Seasonal depression can affect anyone, but it is more common for people have other risk factors such as stress, trauma, or isolation.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 60% of adults in the United States have a chronic disease, and about 40% of adults have two or more. Some acute diseases can develop into severe health issues and need medical intervention. This may include appendicitis, pneumonia, pancreatitis, or acute liver and renal failure that can lead to a catastrophic health condition. These typically last a long time, more than six months, and require permanent ongoing medical attention.
Establishing a health plan for chronic/acute/catastrophic health issues often focuses solely on the disease, and not necessarily on that which keeps a patient inspired and fulfilled throughout the duration. Seasonal depression and chronic/acute/catastrophic health conditions can have a negative impact on each other, creating a launching pad for worsening physical and mental health. For instance, seasonal depression can make it harder for people to manage their chronic health conditions, as they may lose motivation, energy, or adherence to their treatment plans.
Conversely, chronic health conditions can increase the risk or severity of seasonal depression, as they may cause pain, disability, or social isolation. Moreover, both seasonal depression and chronic health conditions can impair the quality of life and well-being of the affected individuals, as well as their families and caregivers.
It is important to address both seasonal depression and chronic/acute/catastrophic health conditions in a comprehensive and holistic way, considering the factors that influence them. Some of the strategies that can help are:
Seeking professional help from a health care provider, a mental health counselor, or a support group, who can offer diagnosis, treatment, and guidance for both conditions.
Following a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, balanced nutrition, adequate sleep, and avoidance of alcohol and tobacco, which can improve both physical and mental health.
Using light therapy, which involves exposure to artificial bright light for a certain amount of time each day, which can mimic the effects of natural sunlight and alleviate the symptoms of seasonal depression.
Practicing stress management techniques such as meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, or hobbies, which can reduce the negative effects of stress and enhance the mood and coping skills.
Maintaining social connections with family, friends, or community, who can provide emotional support, companionship, and practical assistance.
Seasonal depression and chronic/acute/catastrophic health conditions are interrelated and complex issues that can affect many people. They can have detrimental consequences for the physical and mental health of individuals and their loved ones. However, they can also be treated and prevented with appropriate interventions that address both the medical and psychological aspects of the conditions. By doing so, people can improve their health outcomes, quality of life, and well-being.