How to avoid the winter blues, seasonal affective disorder

Experts say Seasonal Affective Disorder is very common in the winter months (WNWO).

TOLEDO, Ohio (WNWO) -- As daylight grows shorter more people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.

The winter months see about five fewer hours of daylight compared to the summertime.

Experts say its extremely common to suffer from winter depression, but there are tips to help.

"Depression is very treatable and with the right support people can get better or feel better," said Denise Kidder, Safe Haven Behavioral Health executive director.

"The best thing you can do is find an outlet, some kind of physical activity to release the endorphins in your brain something that brings you pleasure," said Dr. Tanya Baldwin, Mercy Health Family Physician.

Dr. Baldwin says stress from the holidays can add to winter depression.

"Some people feel more lonely when it comes to the holiday time, some people feel extra stress of running around buying presents you know spending more money than they have budgeted," said Dr. Baldwin.

Safe Haven Behavioral Health treats those suffering from depression. Kidder said it's important to pay attention to certain indicators.

"So if at the end of the day you're still feeling [like] ugh I just don't want to get out of bed and it's starting to impact how you're functioning, your ability to go to work, your ability to hang out and do things with your friends, and social isolation. If you're seeing some of those things and it's pervasive you might want to reach out and get help from a professional," said Kidder.

Experts say cognitive behavior therapy, or talk therapy, though it seems simple, can be extremely helpful.

"You're looking at the thought process and helping people move forward with their thinking, and not getting stuck in negative thought patterns, and challenging some of those thoughts and helping them develop some skills into dealing with the feelings that they are experiencing," said Kidder.

"The bad thing about depression is that it can lead you to make decisions that you wouldn't normally do, I mean it can get so bad where you feel like you'd be better off not being here, than suffering through and so that's what we absolutely want to avoid," said Dr. Baldwin.


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