Watertown— As the winter months bring in the cold, the longer nights may affect your emotions.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is defined as a cyclical type of depression, which occurs seasonally. Marriage and Family Therapist at Family Counseling Services, Taralee Lashway explained that lack of sun might be one factor.
The sun is one major vitamin D source, also known to boost serotonin levels in the brain. Low levels of serotonin is said to contribute to depression and so longer nights during the winter months means less sun.
Ms. Lashway explained some symptoms to look for, if you think you might be suffering with Seasonal Affective Disorder:
· Sleeping too much
· Lack of energy
· Loss of interest and feeling sluggish
· Social withdrawal
“Some people can be confused as being bi-polar when they are not; they are just affected by the winter months”, said Ms. Lashway. The Family Counseling Services, counsels a higher number of people during winter months.
According to Ms. Lashway, large amounts of snow can also make people feel claustrophobic, but the key is to recognize that these feelings are temporary. Lashway has seen many new military families that experience a shock, especially during the winter months and living in the North Country for the first time. During the winter season, some individuals might benefit from prescription medication.
Ms. Lashway provided a list of simple things you can do to combat S.A.D. or at the very least, reduce seasonal depression symptoms:
· Increase vitamin D intake
· Eat better
· Exercise more
· Avoid Drugs and Alcohol
· Light therapy, because it helps boost vitamin D
· Avoid isolation
· Consider medication and consult a therapist if symptoms persists