Seasonal Depression At Its Worst During Winter Months - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Seasonal Depression At Its Worst During Winter Months

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We can all agree mother nature hasn't been all that friendly to us this winter.

Between snow, flooding, and negative temperatures; we have seen it all this winter.

While we all may be suffering the winter blues, others are dealing with worse.

"Seasonal Depression or previously known as seasonal affective disorder or SAD is a seasonal pattern of a recurrent depressive disorder which typically occurs in the winter months which is when the intensity or duration of light is reduced," said Dr. James Abel, Fairmont General Hospital.

In most cases, symptoms for seasonal depression appear during late fall or early winter and go away during the sunnier days of spring and summer.

"The major thing that people usually first notice is a decrease in energy, maybe difficulty waking up in the morning, sleeping more in general, craving carbohydrates, weight gain," Dr. Abel said.

Other symptoms include appetite changes, hopelessness, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating on certain tasks.

Tanning salons, like Tuscan Sun Spa in Clarksburg, said they see an increase in business during the winter months.

"It just gives them that sunlight that they need and definitely produces endorphins and serotonin in the brain. It's proven. The light produces serotonin and that's why people have seasonal depression," said Cheri Satterfield, Tuscan Sun Spa Owner.

However, doctors said its not going to cure your seasonal depression. The only thing it will help is your tan.

"The eyes have to be open. So the light has to be getting to the eyes. If the eyes are closed, its not helping at all," Dr. Abel said.

Doctors said there are several effective ways to help you beat the winter blues.

"Some of the most common treatments are antidepressant medications. Light therapy is something that is becoming much more common and has come to light a lot more recently," Dr. Abel said.

Psychotherapy is also proven to help with seasonal depression, according to doctors.

Dr. Abel said its normal to have some days when you feel down. But if you feel down for long periods at a time and you can't seem to get motivated to do activities you normally enjoy, see your doctor.