Not everyone’s holidays are filled with Christmas joy and New Year celebrations. People who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD can get depressed when the daylight times shorten.
“It affects women more than men,” said Dr. Alan Peterson, a board member of the Partnership for Public Health in Lancaster, Pa. “And it is marked by major depressive episodes during a particular season.”
SAD can be thought of as a hibernation state of mind, Peterson said. People with SAD eat and sleep more, much like animals hibernating for winter. People suffering from classic depression have a tendency to eat and sleep less.
“Daily light therapy of at least 5,000 lumens for 30 minutes in the morning has been helpful as has dawn light simulation,” said Peterson.
SAD also can affect those with bipolar disorder and can be marked by sudden seasonal changes,” Peterson noted.
He said anti-depressants and cognitive behavioral therapy have been effective for individuals with SAD.
“Daily walks outside (even on cloudy days), aerobic exercise and enhanced indoor lighting can also be helpful,” Peterson said.