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Winter Blues or Something More? Our Tips for Seasonal Affective Disorder

The holidays have come and gone. Most of the country has already been in a deep freeze, and there are still long, harsh months of winter yet to come. It’s no wonder many people come down with a case of the “winter blues.”  

This bummed out reaction occurs when the days are shorter and you spend much more time inside. To combat these feelings, you might try light therapy, and increasing physical activity. If it lasts more than a fleeting day or two, it could be seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — a serious form of depression occurring in the winter months when there is less exposure to natural sunlight. Some symptoms of SAD include:

  • Feelings of worthlessness or helplessness

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy

  • Fatigue or decreased energy

If you suspect your mental state is more than just a bad day, consider these ways to get help:

  • The Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a 24-hour helpline (1-800-662-HELP) for mental health services if you or someone you know needs immediate attention.

  • Find a doctor. SAD is not something you should deal with without consulting a professional. After evaluation, they may be able to prescribe a medication to help you.

You can learn more about depression and other health issues at Don’t suffer through the entire season—enjoy what winter has to offer. It can be more than just hibernation.

Get Through the Holiday Blues

The holidays aren’t joyous for everyone. This time of year can bring stress and feelings of loneliness. Exercise, focusing on positive relationships, and doing things that you find rewarding can help with depression. Get tips on what to do if you feel depressed.

Keep in mind that winter depression could be a sign of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which may be caused by the lack of sunlight. Treatment for SAD is much like other forms of depression, but also involves light therapy.

Get more holiday tips.

Beat the Winter Blues

During the winter it can be easy to get so busy with work and your kids’ activities that by the time you go to bed you’ve barely seen the sun. The lack of exposure to the sun, shorter days and colder weather can cause some people to feel the winter blues, known medically as seasonal affective disorder.

If you think you suffer from a major attitude change during the winter months, use these tips to learn the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder and possible treatment options.

Recognize the symptoms:

Some of the most common symptoms of seasonal affective disorder are feelings of sadness or emptiness, hopelessness or extreme pessimism. Fatigue, difficulty concentrating and changes in weight could also be possible signs of the winter blues.

When It’s Not Just a Bad Day:

Everyone has bad days from time to time and may feel sad and depressed or even extremely pessimistic. It’s normal for these feelings to come and go. However, if your mood doesn’t change over a period of two weeks, it’s time to talk to your doctor to see if you’re suffering from depression or seasonal affective disorder. You can use the Mood Tracker mobile app to help you track when and how long you’ve been feeling depressed.

Treatment Options:

There are several different treatment options for seasonal affective disorder. Your doctor may want you to try light therapy. Being exposed to sunlight or a fluorescent light box for an extended period of time could help to improve your mood. However, for many people, light therapy isn’t enough.

In that case there are many different medicines you and your doctor could discuss. Before your appointment read the guide Depressions – Medicines to Help You to learn about all your different options and possible side effects so you can make an informed decision.

Don’t let the winter blues keep you down. Use this information to help you take the steps you need to begin to feel better.

Holiday Tip of the Day: Get Through the Holiday Blues

The holidays are a joyous time of the year for many people, which can make it more stressful if you are depressed. Exercise, focusing on positive relationships, and doing things that you find rewarding can help with depression. Winter depression could be a sign of seasonal affective disorder, which is caused by the lack of sunlight. Get advice on how to cope with depression around the holidays.

Did you miss yesterday’s tip? Get more holiday tips.