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Seasonal Affective Disorder: More than the Winter Blues

As many as six out of every 100 people in the U.S. experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It’s more than just the winter blues – it can be very difficult for people who suffer from it and this stretch of winter, January and February, tends to be the most brutal. SAD is a type of depression that lasts for a season, typically the winter months, and goes away during the rest of the year. Symptoms of SAD are the same as those of depression. They can vary in severity and often interfere with personal relationships. Symptoms include fatigue, pervasively sad mood, loss of interest, sleep difficulty, or excessive sleeping, craving, and eating more starches and sweets, weight gain, feelings of hopelessness or despair, and thoughts of suicide.

A popular treatment for SAD is Bright light therapy (BLT). It has been demonstrated to be helpful to individuals with seasonal affective disorder. More recent research is investigating whether and how it is helpful for other problems. There are other ways to manage SAD.


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