OHIO VALLEY — As winter wears on, the days grow darker, and for some, the lack of sunlight means dealing with seasonal foe. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that coincides with seasons. Typically, the symptoms lessen and go away as the darker days of winter give way to the sunny days of summer.
“The winter blues do not have to be the winter blues,” said Bobbie Jo Rockey, D.O., with Family Healthcare in Pomeroy.
Dr. Rockey said the symptoms of SAD can include: fatigue, tearfulness, sleeping more, craving food such as carbohydrates, low energy and trouble concentrating. The symptoms are similiar to depression.
“The theory is the reduction of sunlight exposure causes a reduction in saratonin. This is indicated in other types of depression,” Rockey said.
Treatment does not have to be all medicinal. Rockey said there are other options including simply getting some sunlight. She suggests increasing the exposure to natural light, especially in the morning. Spending 15 to 30 minutes in the sun can help, especially with milder cases.
Artificial sunlight through light boxes can help, too. She suggests placing the lamp in an area where it is easy to sit down for 30 minutes in the light. This will help stimulate the body to naturally produce saratonin.
“It must be a bulb of 10,000 lux to be effective,” she noted.
Such treatment has proven to be as effective as treating with medication.
She also noted that with any type of depression, counseling can be beneficial, as well.
“If you are having more serious symptoms, such as thinking about suicide, talk with your doctor. Do not isolate yourself. Seasonal depression is very common. The symptoms of seasonal depression can be a part of a more complex psychiatric picture,” Rockey said.
Dr. Rockey practices at Family Healthcare. The phone number is (740) 992-0540.
Along with contacting a family physician, there are several mental health providers in the area including: Prestera in Point Pleasant at (304) 675-2361; Woodland Centers Meigs (304) 992-2192; and Woodland Centers Gallia (740) 446-5500.
Rockey said that most patients realize how much better they feel after treatment. The winter blues do have to be so blue with a little help