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Getting Over The Winter Blues
ELMIRA---(WENY) This winter has been one of the coldest and snowiest that we've seen in quite sometime, and that can do a number on your mood.
The short, frigid days, along with the snow and overcast skies have been known to bring on bouts of what some call seasonal depression.
The clinical term is Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, and it can seriously put a damper on your mood.
Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Kathy Rundle says, "Roughly 3% of the population is really affected by this. Another 15% are affected somewhat. But, I think what we're seeing now is people who are just more depressed because they're not out doing the typical things."
According to Psychology Today, Seasonal Affective Disorder affects roughly 10 million Americans, more so women than men, and is more common the farther north you live.
The condition, which is linked to light deprivation, usually starts in the Fall and lasts through out the Winter months.
Rundle says, "Some people are more susceptible to lack of light than others. I would say this year's going to be a little tougher simply again because of how extreme it's been."
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms can include feelings of hopelessness, oversleeping, social withdraw, and an increased craving for carbohydrate rich foods, among others. However, you don't have to be clinically diagnosed to feel the symptoms.
One area resident said, "Sometimes I get depressed, there's other days I just don't want to leave the apartment."
Luckily, there are some things you can do to avoid feeling so down in the dumps. Rundle suggests, "Maybe you join a gym. Maybe you find some piece of equipment or exercise you can do in the house.You need to keep your routine so that you're feeling more stabilized in your environment."
You can also use light therapy to help get over the winter blues, which has drastically helped 80% of SAD Patients according to Psychology today.
For more information about Seasonal Affective Disorder and how to treat it, visit: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/basics/definition/con-20021047 .