If you’re feeling depressed as the winter weather continues, you might be suffering from what’s called Seasonal Affective Disorder. Lindsey Swan, a therapist with Iowa Health System in Des Moines says depression is one of the symptom of the problem.
Swan says you can be someone who has already suffered from depression, or you may not have. She says S-A-D comes this time of year because of the lack of light and the days are shorter, especially with a more severe winter where you can’t get out. Swan says this can be a big problem for some people.
"It’s not to be taken lightly," Swan says. She says there can be some serious symptoms such as suicidal thoughts, self harm thoughts, disrupted sleep. Swan says if you’re having these type of symptoms you need to get in to see someone such as a counselor. Swan says getting outdoors, even if there is not a lot of light is helpful.
Swan says there are lights for light therapy, but she says eating properly, getting enough exercise and getting out and doing things with other people are important. She hears from people who’re staying in because of the weather and becoming a couch potato. Last weekend’s warmup gave a glimpse of spring, and Swan isn’t sure if that hurt or helped people feel better.
Swan says in some ways the warmup could be seen as light at the end of the tunnel that spring is just down the road. "But, I do think it threw people for a loop to have such a dramatic change from one day to the next on top of a difficult winter,"Swan says. Swan says many employers offer counseling assistance, or you can check with your doctor to get some help.