Local psychiatrist discusses coping with seasonal depression and COVID-19

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PRINCETON, WV (WVNS) — Millions of Americans suffer from depression in various forms. Now thanks to winter weather and COVID-19, those depression symptoms could get worse.

Dr. Alina Vrinceanu- Hamm, a general psychiatrist in Mercer County, said suffering from depression is very common and treatable in most patients. She said the majority of people who suffer also struggle with multiple forms, including seasonal depression. Dr. Hamm said seasonal depression is not a separate entity, it is considered a sub-type of major depression and bipolar disorder.

“It is estimated that 10 to 20 percent of depressed patients actually have that seasonal component to their depression, meaning that particular time of the year usually in fall; October, November, around this time their depression tends to get worse.”

Dr. Alina Vrinceanu-Hamm

Dr. Hamm said some could experience different symptoms with each type of depression.

“That includes the usual feelings, symptoms of depression which is sadness, irritability, losing interests in activities.”

Dr. Alina Vrinceanu-Hamm

According to Dr. Hamm there are ways to combat these symptoms without medication.

“Try to keep as little disruption in our regular schedules as possible. There are other things of course, it’s very important for both seasonal depression and effects of COVID to try to spend as much time, which is difficult now with the cold weather, but when we can to spend some time outside.

Dr. Alina Vrinceanu-Hamm

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