Avoid those Winter Blues!

By: Alere Staff

Seasonal Affective Disorder (also known as “SAD” and “Winter Depression”) is a type of depression that occurs most commonly in the winter months. SAD can begin during teen years or adulthood and, as with most forms of depression, is more common in women than men. People that live in areas that have very long, dark winter nights have a greater incidence of SAD than people who live in areas with an abundance of sunshine.

Symptoms of SAD usually come on gradually in the late autumn or winter months. They are similar to the symptoms seen in other types of depression and can include feelings of hopelessness, irritability, low energy, excessive sleep, increased appetite and weight gain, loss of interest in activities and unhappiness. While there is no test for SAD, a doctor can diagnose it by asking questions about a person’s history of symptoms.

Healthy lifestyle habits such as getting plenty of sleep regularly, eating a balanced, healthy diet, exercising more often, taking all medications as prescribed and finding activities that one enjoys can help manage symptoms of SAD. It can also be helpful to be around people who are caring, positive and trusted. Just as they are for other forms of depression, antidepressant medications and talk therapy can be effective.

As with any medication or change in lifestyle, always talk to your doctor and keep them informed.