The winter blues, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), can affect anyone

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December 25 2021 12:00 am

WHEELING W.Va. (WTRF) — Daylight savings is just a few days away and you know what that means, fewer hours of sunlight. Believe it or not this is just one factor that impacts many people’s happiness.  

Along with that wintry weather comes a state that many people find themselves stuck in. It can affect your productivity, attitude, and even your sleep schedule.  

From the hour change from daylight savings to the frozen and gray scenery. Some people refer to it as the “seasonal depression” or “the winter blues.” 

Dr. Trisha Bailey, a psychologist in private practice in Wheeling says Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is characteristic by individuals who experience a decline in their mood and functioning, beginning typically around early fall or winter. Although it is less common, it can happen in the spring and summer as well.  

Dr. Bailey says typically you will see people slip into a depressive state and often it begins with oversleeping.  

People will describe their mood goes down, they have difficulty functioning, and lose energy.  They want to sleep all the time, their appetite is disturbed, they have trouble concentrating and sometimes it will go to the extreme that they will feel profound hopelessness and may even experience suicidal thoughts.

Dr. Trisha Bailey, psychologist, Wheeling

She says it tends to occur in northern climates and that it is a very real thing that we should not take lightly. 

It’s actually more common in females than males and we usually see the early onset of it happening in early adulthood.

Dr. Trisha Bailey, psychologist, Wheeling

Dr. Bailey says SAD is different than situational experience that may cause stress or anxiety. She says holidays can cause many people stress due to financial situations, travel, family etc. However, that is differs from Seasonal Affective Disorder.  

People that are experiencing this have had it for at least two years. So, you are looking for a steady pattern. This is more than, “Oh, I had a bad day, I’m a little upset, and don’t you know it’s dark outside?” This is something that is pervasive and ongoing and doesn’t clear up until usually spring.

Dr. Trisha Bailey, psychologist, Wheeling

Well then what causes SAD? Dr. Bailey says the disorder interferes with one’s internal clock.  

Lack of vitamin D can deplete serotonin levels and low serotonin is associated with depression.

Dr. Trisha Bailey, psychologist, Wheeling

 Bailey says there are a variety of medications and treatments options available. 

She recommends speaking with your doctor about your concerns so they can rule out any other possibility and get you the treatment that works best for you. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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