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Seasonal Affective Disorder: When It’s More than Winter Blues


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB)– ‘Tis the season for the dreaded winter blues. Between cloudy skies, chilly temperatures and biting wind, it’s enough to make anyone want to stay indoors. Many of us experiencing symptoms that just make you want to hibernate through these final weeks of winter.

For many the symptoms are similar.

“Ah, lack of motivation to get out there on your days off,” said Ryan Maloney.

“Get kinda bummed out, lazy, just want to sit home and watch movies, don’t really want to go out and do anything,” commiserated Leanne Zemrock.

And the smallest forecast of temperatures above forty degrees can invoke a feeling of euphoria.

“Busting out the shorts and flip-flops,” exclaimed Alfonso Santaniello at the news of the weekends forecast.

On days like today where we are all probably dreaming about those flip-flops it’s easy to say that most of us are experiencing the winter blues. But Seasonal Affective Disorder, which shares many of the symptoms of depression, actually effects 2-5% of the population.

According to Dr. Stuart Anfang at Baystate Medical Center, Seasonal Affective Disorder is a very real thing, and for those who suffer from SAD, professional help may be the answer.

“If it’s causing functional impairment say that lasts a week or two at a time, that might be the time that you want to ask for some assistance,” Anfang explained.

But luckily the end may be near. Daylight Saving Time is a turning point for all of us as the extended periods of sunshine seem to dispel the symptoms of the winter doldrums. 

According to Dr. Anfang, the belief is that the reaction between sunlight and the melatonin in our skin is a contributing factor to how we feel. The more exposure we have to sunshine, the better you should feel.

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