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Winter Blues

 

seasonal affective disorder (SAD)Having a case of the winter blues is not uncommon for many people, but it could be a sign of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).  Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that develops during the winter. One in five Americans has seasonal affective disorder.   It is more common amongst women and in northern climates that get less sunlight.

Here are symptoms of seasonal affective disorder according to Mayo Clinic experts:

  • Depression
  • Hopelessness
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of energy
  • Heavy, “leaden” feeling in the arms or legs
  • Social withdrawal
  • Oversleeping
  • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty concentrating

 

The good news about seasonal affective disorder is that it is very treatable.  Here are some tips from experts at the Mayo Clinic to help stay motivated and avoid paralyzing depression:

  • Take a walk outside.  Sunlight reaches the brain through the eyes, stimulating the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that affects mood.  Less light results in lower serotonin levels.  Darkness also triggers the melatonin, which promotes sleep.  So, exposure to light can help ease symptoms of SAD.
  • Light therapy boxes can be used as a substitute for natural light for those who can’t get outside.
  • Exercise 30 minutes a day, three times a week.
  • Socialize regularly with friends and family members.

 

If you have a serious case of the winter blues that is interfering with work or personal relationships, it is important to seek help.

 

Works Cited:

Winter Depression May Require Treatment Plan.  Health Day. 26 December 2012. Web. 26 December 2012.

 

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Filed under: Conditions and Disorders, Holidays · Tags: depression, Holiday sadness, SAD, seanol depression, Seasonal affective disorder, Winter blues