Seasonal affective disorder could explain your winter blues

The changing of seasons can often lead to a change in moods. Dr. Allen Miller, the director of Wellspan Behavioral Health, says experts can track the changes.

“There are real physical things that happen as a result of the reduction of sunlight,” says Miller.

Generally people experience reduced energy and reduced interest in doing things they normally enjoy doing.  Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, as it’s known, leaves more than 11 million people in the U.S. feeling blue.

“Everybody has winter blues,” says Miller.  “But not everybody has seasonal affective disorder. The kinds of things that most people experience during these months, is very similar to what anybody else who says they have depression has.”

When the symptoms of SAD strike, fitness expert Mindy Quesenberry says it can be very easy to fall into an unhealthy pattern.

“As the daylight diminishes, we want to go home. We want to stay inside and then what happens is it does become that vicious cycle. And then it becomes a regular routine,” says Quesenberry.

People who know they are susceptible might start taking an antidepressant around the beginning of September. But if an antidepressant isn’t for you, you might look into tryptophan or omega 3.  Naturopath Dan Duryea says these natural options can help increase your mood as well.

“I have used these for many years with patients who have battled SAD, and they’ve gotten good results,” says Duryea.

But the most natural aide in combating SAD is just getting up and moving away from your winter routine.

“What I want my clients to do is the last thing they want to do and that is get up and move around and exercise as much as you possibly can,” says Miller.

“Movement will increase endorphins, which will make you feel better,” says Quesenberry.

For more information about SAD click here.

American Senior Communities

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