Seasonal Affective Disorder Not Just a Case of the Winter Blues

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“Once it becomes November, December, January, some of those colder months with the shorter days,” said Dr. Tiffanie Ferry from SwedishAmerican. “[Some people are] just not feeling like themselves.”

For some, a drop in the temperatures can also mean a drop in their attitudes.

“They estimate that about 5 to 10% of the patients that we see in primary care can have episodes of seasonal affective disorder and about 15% of all depressed patients,” Ferry says.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, better known as SAD, can creep up on many people in this time of year.

It’s symptoms can be similar to depression, and those who suffer from it can have trouble sleeping, social withdrawal, or even loss of appetite.

And it’s more common than you think.

OSF family medicine physician, Dr. John Mueller, says as many as one in four people suffer from the affliction.

“There’s people every year, this time of year, when the time changes,” said Dr. Mueller. “The weather is dark. They really have more trouble with it. Or people who normally aren’t depressed at all will find that they’re depressed during the winter time.”

“It does,” said Michael Kellar. “If you just sit inside and don’t get out and yeah, you do get depressed or whatever.”

 “I don’t like that part, you know,” said Veronica Henderson. “Because once again you’re stuck inside of the house, and you know, it dampens you a little bit.”

The holidays can also cause additional distress.

“The holidays can be very difficult,” said Dr. Ferry. “I mean, you know, we love our families, but they can also be some of our bigger stressors.”

“As far as the mood, a little bit down,” said Jeffrey Perry. “The season, the Christmas season sometimes it brings you down a little bit.”

For those feeling a case of the blues, doctors say you shouldn’t just brush it off.

“I think it’s important for people to take care of themselves,” said Dr. Mueller. “To eat well, get plenty of sleep and exercise, and really probably back down on the holiday schedules and do things that are reasonable so that you’re not just frantic all day long.”

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