FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — As the days become darker and shorter many people are beginning to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
SAD is a disorder when a person develops depression at the same time each year around the winter months. Side effects include feeling hopeless, sad, losing an appetite, and having a low interest in activities. Low production of melatonin also plays a role.
But how can you get out of the ‘wintertime blues?’
Dr. Kristen Varian is a Post Doctoral Psychology Resident at the Park Center, Parkview Behavioral Health Institute. Varian says these tips can help with seasonal depression:
- Staying active
- Maintaining a healthy diet
- Treating with therapy/medication
- Having a normal sleep cycle
- Finding a good source of light like getting outside or investing in a special ‘happy’ lamp
Varian says another important step is to “normalize” seasonal depression.
“Everyone feels sad sometime in their life,” Varian said. “So when we do have these mental health symptoms we need to take care of ourselves. It’s all a process of self-care. So if you have a family member that is experiencing it just reaching out and letting them know it’s perfectly fine to seek help can help. And we want people to seek help.”
Another tip to get through the season is sticking to a routine as much as possible and connecting with loved ones either in person or over video chat.
For those struggling or in need of advice you can call the Parkview Behavioral Health Helpline at 260-373-7500 or 800-284-8439 anytime, 24 hours a day. An assessment specialist will listen, answer your questions, and recommend steps to take.