Seasonal Affective Disorder & the Winter Blues

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"When the season moves into winter, the days grow shorter, and the skies turn gray, do you find that your mood darkens as well? If so, you"re not alone. Approximately 10% of Americans experience a lower mood during the winter months, and this rate is as high as 20-30% of people in more Northern latitudes such as Oregon. For many people, the "winter blues" can develop into something more serious. In a given year, approximately 5% of Americans develop what"s called "Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)," with this rate increasing in more Northern latitudes, such as Oregon. For example, around 1% of people living in Florida experience SAD, whereas around 9% of people living in Alaska experience SAD. Dark indoor work environments may also contribute to SAD.
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
SAD is a form of depression that begins and ends during a specific season each year. Here, we discuss the most common type of SAD, which occurs during the fall/winter, and is caused by the decrease in natural light during these seasons. It usually subsides by the spring or summer. Symptoms of SAD include increased need for sleep, daytime fatigue, irritability, decreased activity, decreased concentration and ability to think clearly, decreased sex drive, and increased appetite, particularly for sweets and starchy carbohydrates."

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