November 14, 2011
The time change and shorter days have some people crying the blues. Dr. Richard Muller of Buckingham Family Medicine says seasonal depression is triggered by the days getting shorter.
Symptoms include dark or blue mood, middle of the night awakenings, less interest in the things you enjoy, crying spells, loss of appetite and suicidal thoughts.
Seasonal depression can happen at any age, and ecause it's triggered by the days getting shorter, it tends to improve by mid-winter or spring.
Seasonal depression can be treated, however. Dr. Muller recommends anti-depressant medications or light therapy, in which bright lights are used, especially in the early morning, to trick the body into thinking it's still summer.
Seasonal depression usually cannot be prevented, however light treatment has been shown to prevent relapses in some patients.
Lastly, Dr. Muller says it's important to point out that depression is a potentially fatal condition that should be taken very seriously. If you or someone you know suffers from these symptoms he suggests visiting a health care provider.