The time change is behind us, but the effects are beginning to kick in. Depending on where you live, you may be experiencing the Winter Blues due to the lack of sunlight. This seasonal change can have dramatic effects on your mood.
In a recent Forbes article, contributor Amanda Lauren quotes Dr. Stephen Dansiger as saying, “Many people are happy about the additional daylight early on, but the early onset of darkness is difficult for many. The fact that the days are shorter and shorter will force many into all their daylight hours being spent at work, while living in darkness while out and about and at home. For those who are not night owls, this can wear people down.”
On a more extreme level, these feelings can also be symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. As Dr. Dansiger explains in the Forbes article,
“Seasonal Affective Disorder is when people develop a series of depressive symptoms during the winter months. They may or may not have depression or depressive symptoms other times of the year, but the lack of sunlight exacerbates the difficulties in mood or creates them from scratch.”
The following excerpt and list of symptoms from the Mayo Clinic website may seem all too familiar to those who suffer from depression:
"In most cases, seasonal affective disorder symptoms appear during late fall or early winter and go away during the sunnier days of spring and summer. Less commonly, people with the opposite pattern have symptoms that begin in spring or summer. In either case, symptoms may start out mild and become more severe as the season progresses.
Signs and symptoms of SAD may include:
- Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
- Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Having low energy
- Having problems with sleeping
- Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
- Feeling sluggish or agitated
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
- Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide
Symptoms specific to winter-onset SAD, sometimes called winter depression, may include:
- Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
- Weight gain
- Tiredness or low energy"
Depression is real. SAD and the Winter Blues are real. If you or someone you care about is dealing with depression, if you've tried and failed antidepressant medications, or are looking for a non-drug solution, consider Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, known as TMS Therapy. Every day, we're helping people get their lives back, possibly to the point of enjoying the seasonal changes that once caused their blues.
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