Many people during the long winter months become depressed due to the cold temperatures and lack of sunlight. If you feel depressed during the same time each year, you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. SAD is a type of depression, so many of the symptoms are similar.
“People will feel more down, they get a little bit more moodier, their moods can be up and down, but they definitely feel the change, the shortening of the days, because the light does seem to help us out a lot when it comes to how well we feel,” says Nurse Practitioner, Kim Cousins of Pines Health Services.
Cousins says the lack of daylight in the winter months definitely plays a big role in our moods. So big, that light therapy is a treatment for people with SAD.
“People will look for light therapy, they can benefit sometimes from behavioral health, or psychotherapy, and some people actually benefit from being on medication during those months that are most problematic for them,” says Cousins.
With the long winters and shorter days here in Northern Maine, many cases of SAD are seen by doctors and nurses on a daily basis.
“Throughout our daily practices, we’ll see handfuls of people that come in with those very symptoms. Not everyone feels that they need to be treated, but they will mention that it’s a harder time of year for them, and yes because it is such a long period of time for us,” says Cousins.
Cousins says anyone can have SAD, but the elderly are more vulnerable since they tend to stay inside more. It also occurs more in women than in men. The important thing though is to take control of your Seasonal Affective Disorder and get help before it starts affecting your life.