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Winter Blues: Recognizing the signs of Seasonal Depression

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a major depressive disorder that affects more than 14.5 million Americans every year.

TYLER, Texas — Do you have the "winter blues"? 

Don't worry it's not just in your head, the change in seasons can have a major effect on your mood. 

According to UT Health East Texas, seasonal depression is a type of major depressive disorder. It begins in the fall or winter when it starts to get dark earlier. 

"The seasonal changes definitely has an impact on us," Crystal Frazier, a Clinical Psychologist at UT Health East Texas said. "The flowers are no longer blooming, the trees are not blooming."  

Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) range from changes in sleep to trouble concentrating. 

SAD Symptoms

  • Low motivation
  • Sadness
  • No longer enjoying things you used to
  • Appetite changes
  • Weight gain/loss
  • Low energy
  • Anxiety
  • Oversleeping

Research shows that depression affects over 17 million Americans. Of those affected, 35% don't seek help because they don't understand that they have it.

If you notice these signs in a loved one, Frazier says to try and have a conversation about it. You can also offer to visit a healthcare professional with that person. 

If you're experiencing symptoms of depression most of the day, every day, or for two weeks or more, Frazier recommends seeking treatment. 

Treatment for depression

  • Medications
  • Talk therapy
  • Exercise
  • Light therapy
  • Vitamin D

If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, immediate attention is critical. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255, or at 1-800-799-4889 for those who are deaf and hard of hearing. In addition, the Crisis Text Line is available 24/7 by texting HOME to 741741. In case of immediate crisis, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.