12 million Americans suffer from seasonal affective disorder

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Posted: Jan 01, 2015 7:02 PM EST Updated: Jan 03, 2015 11:00 AM EST

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(CNN) – Winter can be a tough season. But this year, with colder temperatures and snow in areas that don’t normally see snowflakes, a lot of folks just want these dreary days to go away.

It’s estimated at least 12 million Americans suffer from a type of depression called seasonal affective disorder or SAD. Doctors say in severe cases people become depressed.

That’s because the brain goes through a chemical imbalance due to a lack of sunlight, which can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, lack of energy, oversleeping, difficulty concentrating and cravings for foods high in carbohydrates that can cause weight gain.

There are ways SAD can be treated.

Modify your diet and exercise more. There are specially designed light boxes that are used to treat those with sad.

If the problem becomes serious, some doctors will recommend anti-depressants or psychotherapy to help patients get through the dark days of winter.

And be with family. Laughter and togetherness are great therapy for the winter blues. It’s a perfect way to stay warm, even if the temperatures outside are frigid.


Posted in Mental Health