In regions of the country where cold weather is inevitable and snow falls during the winter, depressive symptoms can set in. Many individuals suffer from the blues when the days become shorter, and the condition has been defined as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
More than 10 million Americans are negatively impacted by the lack of light every year, according to the Evansville Courier and Press. The holiday season is typically a catalyst for individuals who suffer from SAD as winter weather rolls in. People may begin to experience anxiety, a lack of sleep and a change in appetite. Experts say that this can also result in an increase in weight.
A number of studies have found that light therapy is one way that individuals can cope with the condition. Exposure to special lamps and light boxes for a portion of the day can chase away the depressive symptoms. However, research now shows that these lamps might be harmful to a patients’ eye sight, according to Hanns Pieper, a professor of sociology and gerontology at the University of Evansville. In moderation, the method can be effective, but natural light exposure is the safest treatment.
Antidepressants and assistance from rehabilitation facilities can be helpful in treating SAD, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Therapy may also be effective in reducing symptoms.