How PTSD & Seasonal Affective Disorder Affect Each Other

woman staring out window

It happens every year.

About 1 in 100 people suffer from a seasonal form of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder. Like clockwork, people who suffer from SAD notice a shift in their personalities at the same time each year—losing their desire for social interaction, food, or the things they once enjoyed. Similarly, people with PTSD suffer from seasonal depression. For people with post-traumatic stress, however, it’s not the weather that brings on symptoms—it’s the anniversary of their accident.

For people with PTSD, the weather can sometimes trigger flashbacks and other effects of trauma. Other factors can trigger depressive episodes, but part of the healing process is recognizing your triggers and understanding how to cope with them constructively. Learning how Seasonal Affective Disorder may affect post-traumatic stress is vital to the healing process.

If you need practical, concrete ways to deal with the symptoms of post-traumatic stress, read "9 Ways to Deal with the Daily Effects of PTSD" today.

What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of major depression that changes with the seasons. It most often affects individuals during the winter, although a small minority of people with SAD are affected during the summer. In either case, individuals who suffer from SAD experience effects at roughly the same time each year, and they tend to show symptoms during the fall and winter months and less in the spring or summer. 

Individuals dealing with SAD may experience the following symptoms:

  • Sadness
  • Dissociation
  • Loss of interest
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Lack of energy
  • Appetite changes
  • Lack of concentration
  • Depression
  • Death or suicidal thoughts

Coping with the Anniversary of Your Accident

Individuals that suffer from SAD may experience compounded symptoms if they've suffered trauma during the winter. Catastrophic accident survivors often experience major depression during the anniversary of the incident. It typically brings thoughts and memories of what happened and the pain they endured as a result. It’s during this time that many people look for someone with whom they can speak with. Therapy is a healthy way to process your feelings and receive supportive, proactive advice along the way.

Healing in the Aftermath of an Injury

Because SAD often arises when there is less sunlight and the weather is a bit drearier, light therapy is one way of coping with the feelings of depression. One thing that you as a survivor may be able to do is create “outs.” By this, we mean knowing your triggers and creating strategies to get away from situations that present them. Antidepressants are also a method that can help with seasonal depression—contact your doctor to discover if antidepressants is a healthy option for you.

Dealing with the aftermath of a serious crash is never easy, especially when it leads to emotional trauma. If you are the victim, know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel—and healing is possible. If you are the family of someone who suffers from PTSD, SAD, or both, make sure to take the proper steps to provide your loved one with the support they need.

HHR helps accident victims get back on their feet. Give us a call to learn what you'll need to put your life back together.

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