Health Minute: Seasonal Depression

By CNN

Published 02/17 2014 12:55PM

Updated 02/17 2014 01:03PM

Even if you love the cold and outdoor winter sports, you've got to admit this has been a tough season. Not only is it brisk outside, but shorter days and longer nights can bring on the blues.

It's estimated at least 12 million americans suffer from a type of depression called seasonal affective disorder or SAD.    
Doctors say in severe cases people with sad become depressed.  Many patients claim they just can't function. 

That's because the brain goes through a chemical imbalance due to a lack of sunlight, which can lead to a number of symptoms
Such as fatigue, lack of energy, oversleeping, difficulty concentrating and cravings for foods high in carbohydrates that can cause weight gain.

There are ways SAD can be treated. Modify your diet and exercise more. There are specially designed light boxes that are used to treat those with SAD and if the problem becomes serious.

Some doctors will recommend anti-depressants or psychotherapy to help patients get through the dark days of winter.

And be with family. Laughter and togetherness are great therapy for the winter blues. It's a perfect way to stay warm, even if the temperatures outside are frigid.

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