When winter comes blustering in, it can do a number on your mood. A shortage of sunshine can lead to some serious winter blues and even seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, a type of mild to moderated depression that affects roughly 6 percent of the population (northern states have higher rates). Those with this type of depression may notice irritability, loss of interest, fatigue, increased carbohydrate craving and weight changes. On the bright side, SAD is treatable. Here are three options to discuss with your doctor:
- Light therapy is what it sounds like. Those suffering from SAD spend about 30 minutes a day in front of a light box, which mimics intense sunlight. It’s often the first treatment option.
- Antidepressants may be used in conjunction with light therapy or on their own.
- Some people find that psychotherapy alone of alongside medication and light therapy provides relief.
Wellness tip: Go light on coffee and stock up on popcorn to stave off SAD.