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Winter Blues? Read this

Do you get the “winter blues” this time of year? If you answered yes, it may be Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression. Millions of adults may suffer from SAD, and the exact causes remain unknown. They do know that the season changes affect your internal clock, directly affecting your serotonin levels. “Serotonin is a chemical messenger (neurotransmitter) that helps your brain and nervous system cells communicate. Its main function is to stabilize your mood, as well as your feelings of happiness and well-being. Serotonin also plays a role in the digestive system and sleep cycles” (Bottaro, 2022). Another thing that can be affected by the changing season is your melatonin levels, which regulate your sleep cycle and mood.

Some of the risk factors for getting SAD are having a relative with depression or SAD, women are more prone to this disorder as well as a personal history of depression, ages 18-35 are more likely to get it, and the distance from the equator also can affect you (Chandak, 2023). If you feel sad and depressed most days in the fall and winter, have no energy and cannot concentrate, feel helpless and hopeless, overly tired or cannot sleep, lose your appetite, lose or gain weight, and have suicidal thoughts, you are not alone and could possibly have SAD (Chandak, 2023). This is a treatable disease. Sometimes this disorder can last for years but only appears in the fall and winter months.

If you notice any or all of these symptoms within yourself, make an appointment with your doctor or mental health clinician. Help is out there; you do not have to fight this alone. Medication management, psychotherapy, light therapy (you can buy a Happy Light on Amazon), and some Vitamin D can help you get through these few months (NIMH, 2023).

Bottaro, A., & Sheikh, H., MD (2022, September 28). Brain and nervous system: What is serotonin? Very Well Health.

Chandak, A., Dr. (n.d.). Seasonal affective disorder. Microsoft Start. Retrieved October 10, 2023, from

(n.d.). Seasonal affective disorder. National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved October 10, 2023, from

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