Although fall and winter bring Thanksgiving and holidays, the warmth of a fireplace, enjoying your apartment in Philadelphia, and Eagles football (actual and fantasy), for many people the winter months mark the return of seasonal depression.
It’s known in medical circles as
Symptoms of Major Depression include:
Symptoms of the Winter Pattern of SAD include:
Anyone can be affected by SAD, according to
Experts are not sure what causes SAD, but they suspect a lack of sunlight, which may upset your sleep patterns. It also may cause problems with a brain chemical called serotonin that affects mood. Symptoms may include feeling sad, moody and/or anxious; losing interest in your usual activities; eating more and craving carbohydrates, such as breads and pasta; gaining weight, and sleeping more and feeling drowsy during the daytime.
Doctors often prescribe light therapy to treat SAD. There are two types of light therapy:
Bright light treatment. For this treatment, you sit in front of a “light box” for half an hour or longer, usually in the morning.
Dawn simulation. For this treatment, a dim light goes on in the morning while you sleep, and it gets brighter over time, like a sunrise.
Other treatments can include antidepressants and counseling.