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December’s Focus is Winter Wellness

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For many of us, winter months can make us feel sad or depressed. Sometimes, that feeling doesn't go away until spring. In the old days, this sad feeling during winter was sometimes known as "cabin fever." According to doctors, this condition is called Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. This seasonal depression is a mood disorder that generally occurs around the same time of year.

First of all, what causes it? The causes of SAD are unknown, though research suggests there are biological clues. Some of these may include difficulty regulating serotonin, an overproduction of the hormone melatonin, as well as an insufficient amount of vitamin D.

People with SAD have some symptoms of depression, including:

  • Loss of energy;
  • Difficulty concentrating;
  • Fatigue;
  • Increased hunger; and
  • Increased desire to be alone.

Some people may be more at risk for SAD than others. Things that may increase your risk of SAD include:   

  • Being a woman. SAD is found more often in women than in men.
  • Living far from the equator.
  • Having family members with SAD.

There are things you can do to help lessen the effects of SAD. You can try the following:

  • Use light therapy;
  • Make your home or office sunnier and brighter;
  • Get outside;
  • Exercise regularly; and
  • Eat healthy.

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As you can see, "cabin fever" is not something “made up.” It can be a serious condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. Now that you know what SAD is and how to help with it, if you feel you may have SAD, talk with your doctor. With a little help, you'll be able to keep your SAD under control and get through the winter months.

For information about Seasonal Affective Disorder, visit here

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