SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – The winter season can be a very joyous time, but for some, the colder and darker months bring about seasonal affective disorder or SAD. The lack or decrease in sunlight during this season is a direct cause of SAD.
For Syracuse resident Charlotte Wall there is a lack of motivation to get up in the morning if the sun is not shining. She is not alone in this feeling. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 5% of adults in the U.S. suffer from seasonal affective disorder during fall and winter. SAD may last for almost half the year.
New York State psychiatrist Dr. Rachel Deyong says the symptoms of SAD are similar to those of depression. This includes a change in sleep or eating patterns, a depressed mood, or loss of interest in normal activities.
Deyong recommends photo or light therapy to help compensate for the lack of daylight during these months. In addition, she noted that cognitive behavioral therapy could also be help patients find coping mechanisms for seasonal affective disorder.