With longer nights and cloudy days, many people feel depressed this time of year. But when does that depression become more than just a case of the winter blues?
Doctors call it Seasonal Affective Disorder. About five percent of Americans get the seasonal depression every winter. It can often feel like major depression. The symptoms include lack of energy, overeating, and not wanting to be around people.
“Everybody can have a down day where they just don’t feel good. It doesn’t mean they have major depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder. So for Seasonal Affective Disorder, it has to go on for at least a few weeks. You’re also looking for it to be tied with the seasons,” said Dr. Larry Gordon, D.O. Gordon is an internal medicine and pediatrics doctor at Aspirus Weston Clinic.
The good news is that there are ways to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder. Gordon says one of the most effective ways to improve your mood is light therapy.
“There are different lights that they make that are bright lights that you use for like half an hour a day, usually, maybe in the morning. And that has actually been shown to really help a lot. So some people just the light therapy alone will do it and if it does that’s a pretty easy solution,” said Gordon.
Gordon said for some people the light is not enough. If you think you need more help fighting Seasonal Affective Disorder, you should contact your doctor.
Gordon also says exercising and getting outside can help fight the seasonal depression as well.
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