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More than winter blues: Seasonal depression tips, insight from health experts

Hanh Truong, The Sacramento Bee on

Published in Health & Fitness

Symptoms of seasonal depression

Seasonal affective disorder symptoms range from difficulty concentrating, to changes in appetite and depressed mood, according to the American Psychiatric Association.

It may also include thoughts of death or suicide, changes in sleep and feelings of guilt.

Miller said that low or negative moods, loss of interest and lack of motivation are also major signs of depression.

How to treat seasonal affective disorder

There are various ways people can treat their seasonal depression. The Mayo Clinic said that if you notice you're feeling sad for longer periods, have lack of motivation and your sleep and eating patterns have changed, you should contact your doctor.

One way individuals can help seasonal mood changes due to loss of sunlight is to use light therapy, which is artificial light that mimics outdoor sunlight. You just need to sit or work near what's called a light therapy box.

 

And Miller said some may choose cognitive behavioral therapy, which involves changing negative thought patterns into healthy, adaptable thoughts.

She also advised people to exercise.

"Exercise has been shown to be as powerful as taking an antidepressant medication, in terms of its ability to improve peoples' mood," she said. "If you could exercise outside while it's nice, that would also be helpful in terms of getting that vitamin D in you."

Each individual is different. You should talk to your doctor for the best treatment options.

You can also call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

If you have feelings of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255.

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