Tired in spring: tired or depressed?

Higher temperatures, longer daylight: nature blossoms in spring. According to the survey, the opposite happens to 39 percent of women and 22 percent of men in Germany: They are constantly tired

The organism has to adapt in spring - a challenge, especially when the weather changes frequently. In this way, metabolism and hormone levels are rebalanced. Because it is getting warmer outside, the skin is also better supplied with blood. This can lower your blood pressure a little.

Driveless in spring

Fleeting springtime tiredness is usually harmless and therapy is not necessary. But how can this disorder be differentiated from depression? When should sufferers talk to a doctor about their symptoms?

Those who suffer from spring fatigue typically have little drive. Often feels exhausted, depressed, and irritable. "Our body signals to us that it needs time to adapt and that we shouldn't overdo ourselves," explains Professor Arno Deister, chief physician of the Center for Psychosocial Medicine at the Itzehoe Clinic. Circulatory problems and dizziness may also occur, for example when getting up in the morning. Better: get out of bed more leisurely.

The symptoms usually go away within days - especially if you listen to your body's signals and respond to its needs:

Tips against springtime fatigue

  • Have patience: make yourself aware that you are not sick. The state of your body simply has to do with the time of year.
  • Showering warm and cold: alternating pourings get the circulation going.
  • Going for a walk: relaxing hiking in nature. Daylight also helps the body to find its natural rhythm.
  • Exercise moderately: Movement gets the body going and brightens the mood. But don't overwork your body straight away after taking a break in winter.
  • Soak up the sun: Sun rays on the skin support the formation of vitamin D, the level of which falls in winter.
  • Light food: After the winter calorie bombs, now refresh the vitamin supplies with vegetables and fruit.

The symptoms described are also common in depression. But it takes longer and the symptoms are much more severe. "The depression usually accompanies a feeling of lack of drive and persistent joylessness, often also of inner emptiness," says Professor Andreas Heinz, Director of the Clinic for Psychiatry at Charité Berlin.

Many patients cannot be encouraged even for a few seconds, not even by the affection of relatives and friends or by happy events. Psychiatrists speak of a paralysis of affect.

Professor Andreas Heinz, Director of the Clinic for Psychiatry at Charité Berlin

© W & B / Steffen Roth

Morning low in depression

The mental illness is determined by a feeling of hopelessness, adds Deister. A person with depression does not assess their condition as temporary, but see it as an existential threat. "The problem is the loss of the future, that you can no longer imagine how it will go on."

In addition, physical complaints are often present with depression, such as pain sensations and above all sleep disorders. The latter, however, does not only consist in the fact that those affected think a lot and fall asleep poorly. "Depressed people often wake up several hours early, then start brooding, but fail to get out of bed and do something," explains Heinz.

This leads to the characteristic morning low, and many patients feel particularly bad then. Some also have an increased need for sleep, they sleep more and longer than before they became ill.

Even people with springtime tiredness may long for their bed more often than usual. But this phase can be overcome alone, according to Deister, and depression often cannot be done without help. "That's why it is really bad for people who are depressed when friends pat them on the back and say: pull yourself together, it will be fine, I also had such a sag."

Help is needed

Anyone who sees signs of depression in themselves or a loved one should seek medical help as soon as possible. Otherwise there is a threat of aggravation and a prolonged course of the disease. "It is important that the person concerned understands two things: first, that he needs help and, second, that it is possible to help him," explains Deister. The first point of contact is usually your family doctor.

In the event of a crisis, you can also seek help by telephone, for example free of charge from the telephone counseling on 08 00/11 10-111 or -222. Those affected and their relatives can find further contact options on the website www.depressionsliga.de.

You don't have symptoms that indicate depression, but the weakness just won't go away? Or is the springtime tiredness this season much more pronounced than in previous years? Even then, going to the family doctor is recommended for a thorough examination. Because physical causes such as an underactive thyroid can also make you tired.