Q. I struggle with seasonal depression every winter. What are the best ways to prevent it or lessen its impact?
A. The winter blues can be devastating. Those with depression or bipolar disorder especially may be at increased risk of recurrence or worsening of depression when plagued by fewer hours of daylight, but many individuals are at risk for symptoms of recurring seasonal affective disorder (SAD) during the winter.
Those with serious depression and mood disorders should see their mental health professional if symptoms worsen in the winter. Others who suffer from decreased energy, insomnia, or mood changes may benefit from spending time in well-lighted areas. Eating lunch or taking breaks outside can help boost mood for those with minor SAD symptoms. Therapeutic light boxes may help when used for 30-60 minutes every morning, when natural sunlight is not available. There are also FDA-approved medications that address SAD. Don’t suffer! Seek relief!