Spring Awakenings and Suicide…When Seasonal Affective Disorder turns into Chronic Depression


Did you know that rates of suicide are highest in the spring and summer months? The Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Health Statistics report that suicide rates in the United States are lowest during the winter months and highest during the spring and summer. This seems counter intuitive, as more people impacted by the winter blues, known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression that is usually present during the winter as the days grow shorter with decreased amounts of sunlight.  SAD can turn into a chronic depression, a serious illness that can last for months and years. In fact, depression is the most common and widespread of all the psychiatric disorders and is the leading cause of disability worldwide.

We all have fluctuations in our mood, but when these telltale signs are hanging on for months and are more than the typical ups and downs we face in life, it’s time to be aware of the signs and take action…because living in a depressed state is not living at all! As we embark upon spring and the days grow longer with sunlight, take note to see if your mood is getting better.

Each person may experience depression differently; however, here are the 10 telltale signs:

1. Anger and irritability.  You have a low frustration tolerance for most things, are easily annoyed or mad, and are grumpy and unpleasant to be around.

2. Hopeless and worthless.  You can’t see the positive side of things and feel as though you have no options.

3. Lost your zest in life.  You have lost your interest in things you previously enjoyed and have difficulty finding and feeling the pleasure in things.

4. Sadness.  Your stream of negative thoughts can’t be controlled and you may be crying for no good reason.

5. Fatigue and loss of energy.  You have chronic feelings of being tired and are not motivated to begin tasks.

6. Guilt.  You frequently criticize yourself for the mistakes you have made in your life

7. Concentration problems.  A slowed thought process takes over and it’s more difficult to make decisions and to concentrate.

8. Changes in Appetite/Sleep.  Your eating and sleep habits have changed.  Your uncharacteristic habits include eating and sleeping too much or too little.

9.  Reckless behavior.  You escape with alcohol, drugs, gambling, and other dangerous activities.

10. Suicidal thoughts.  It’s one thing to have the fleeting thought, “I want to die,” but thoughts of harming yourself on a daily basis with the intent to act, is a serious symptom of depression that requires immediate professional help. Speak to your health care professional and reach out to suicide hotlines 800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433) and 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255).




About Joe Taravella Ph.D.

Dr. Joe Taravella Dr. Joe Taravella is a licensed clinical psychologist and Clinical Assistant Professor at NYU School of Medicine. Dr. Joe embodies a compassionate, understanding, and respectful approach to all human beings who need to be heard, understood and validated. His goal for all individuals is to learn how to effectively communicate, understand oneself, and break maladaptive patterns. His expertise lies in identifying and treating neurological, behavioral, and environmental problems that cause breakdowns within a family and in relationships. Dr. Joe helps individuals, couples, families, and children achieve their greatest potential and has been instrumental in getting individuals to achieve breakthroughs by revealing toxic secrets in a safe and effective manner through Dr. Joe’s Secret Box®. Dr. Joe’s Secret Box® has been instrumental in helping individuals reveal their secrets in a secure and controlled way. Dr. Joe proudly serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Kid Angel Foundation , a non-profit organization that helps underprivileged children and families from distressed communities move toward positive social and economic mobility. In September 2012, Dr. Joe and colleague Dr. Stacey Bromberg released their first two books Hugs of Three: My Daddies and Me and Hugs of Three :My Mommies and Me through their Forward Footsteps , LLC publishing company. The two books guide readers towards a respect for all families while acknowledging the importance of a loving connection between children and their parents. Dr. Joe’s biggest inspirations are his ‘almost triplets’ children, who encourage him to be his best and give him a unique lens on how to view the world from their perspective. To learn more, please visit www.drjoetaravella.com