(WSYR-TV) — If the recent change from summer to fall is bringing you down, you’re not alone. There are some tips if you’re struggling with seasonal depression as cooling temperatures and less daylight are becoming more and more noticeable.
“Some people are prone to depression when there’s a lack of sunlight and they start to feel down in the dumps,” says professor of phycology at SUNY Upstate Dr. Rich O’Neill.
The most difficult months for people with seasonal depression tend to be January and February, but it can start now, and more commonly in women than men.
The American Psychiatric Association says about 5 percent of U.S. adults experience this, with symptoms similar to depression.
“It’s important not to think oh this is a change in the season without getting properly diagnosed so you want to work with some mental health professional to help you sort out what is the cause of this,” Dr. O’Neill says.
If you’re diagnosed with seasonal depression, there are many ways to treat it, starting with a lightbox.
“Just take a little bit of time sitting in front of a light box every day, where you’re getting the same kind of light in your eyes and in your brain that you get from the sun,” Dr. O’Neill continues.
Simply standing in front of a window when it’s light out or coming outside to get more light can help, even exercising.
“Most people in the United States are exercise deprived and if you get moving again which is hard to do in the winter time you can get a boost in your mind,” Dr. O’Neill argues.
Medications and psychotherapy can also help when it goes beyond the winter blues.