Overcoming Feeling SAD

Daytime sleepiness. Bigger appetite. Weight gain.

These are some of the symptoms of a real disorder that affects people in the fall or winter.

It may not be the weather that’s making you feel depressed. It could be Seasonal Affective Disorder.

What causes this condition is unknown. Federal health authorities say many people believe it’s connected to hormones, body temperature and ambient light. Women are more often diagnosed than men.

People afflicted with SAD feel lethargic, grumpy and uninterested in being social.

Luckily, antidepressant medications can treat this type of depression. Exercise during the day can also help. Take a walk before going to work or during lunchtime.

Some patients respond to another tactic: light therapy.

Although it doesn’t work for everyone, depression symptoms can wane or disappear after three weeks. Patients sit in front of a fluorescent light box for 30 minutes daily. The light is extremely bright to mimic being outdoors.

Early morning is best to create a false sunrise.

The good news is that living in places with dreary weather or long winters does not make you more prone to developing SAD. If the weather’s getting you down, your cure may be as simple as taking a trip to someplace sunny.

Think you’re feeling something more than the winter blues? Be sure to see your doctor.

A proper diagnosis is the first step to feeling better.

Source: The National Institutes of Health

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Alice Warchol is a freelance health writer.

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