Mayo Clinic Health System sheds light on Seasonal Affective Disorder

Published: Dec. 19, 2019 at 3:21 PM CST
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While the Holidays are often thought of as the "best time of the year," for some people the winter season can bring sadness.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a seasonal depression where signs and symptoms are present only during a particular time of the year, most commonly winter.

Mayo says in children, 3%-5% of the population can suffer from SAD. Mayo did not have the percentage for adults.

Doctors say there are several symptoms to be on the lookout for.

"The symptoms that we are looking for with depression would be decreased mood, being more tired, fatigue, irritability, changes in sleeping or eating habits, usually it's more sleeping," said Dr. Kalvin Kinstler, a clinical therapist with Mayo Clinic Health System La Crosse.

While there is no cure for SAD, there are several treatments including getting outside and active as well as medication when needed.

"The third form of intervention that we use, which is specific to Seasonal Affective Disorder and not for regular depression, is called bright light therapy," Kinstler said. "That is where you would sit in front of a specific type of light and you put it on the wall and sit in front of it, just doing your daily type of things."

Mayo recommends meeting with a primary care doctor if one thinks they may have SAD.