Q: Dear Doctor, I’ve noticed a change in my mood since the change in time and temperature. My wife calls it the winter blues. Is there such a thing?
A: Yes, the changing seasons can place some people at risk for seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons. It typically starts in the late fall or early winter and goes away in the spring or summer, according to the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH).
Symptoms of the winter pattern of SAD include; having low energy, hypersomnia, overeating, weight gain, craving carbohydrates, and social withdrawal…you feel like hibernating. Statistics show people with a family history of other types of depression are at a higher risk of developing seasonal affective disorder. Women are four times more likely to be diagnosed with SAD than men. It is not limited to adults; children and teens can experience seasonal affective disorder.
Thankfully, we live in an age where research, technology, and innovative products are available to help people suffering from seasonal blues. Mental health professionals recommend counseling as an effective way to help minimize symptoms and practicing self-care, such as eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep. Medication has also proven to help in some cases.
If you find you need help with seasonal affective disorder or any other mental health issue, Accordia is an integrated care model combining primary care services and mental healthcare under one roof. You can call us to schedule an appointment today at (251) 824-8320.