BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) – If you think your mood may be changing as we move away from sunny days, you might be right.
It is called Seasonal Affective Disorder and, throughout America, between four and six percent of the population suffers from seasonal depression.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is when people experience some type of depression that is usually related to seasonal change. The days are much shorter, with less sunlight, and scientists think this can affect our melatonin levels and alter the chemistry of our brains.
While turning clocks back and lacking sunlight may be one of the causes, Director of Strategic Life Counseling Hamlet Smith said that holiday pressure can play a huge role in mood swings as well.
"Especially with the holidays approaching, people's schedules get hectic and they have more time to think of lost loved ones while trying to make that perfect Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner," Smith said.
The symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder are the same as depression, they include; sleep disturbed, excessive eating or lack of appetite, thoughts of suicide, lack of interest and lack of energy. Those who suffer can be treated in the same way as those with depression. Research indicates that people improve with seasonal affective disorders mainly through medical intervention and counseling.
No matter what the cause, those who experience these changes in their mood should seek help instead of ignoring these feelings until winter is over.
"The problems we ignore are often the ones that bite us the most," said Hamlet. "Facing your problems, no matter what they are, is usually a better remedy than trying to ignore them and move on."