Seasonal Affective Disorder - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Seasonal Affective Disorder

The long, cold days of winter can make many of us blue but how do you know when it is something more serious?  Judy Fortin explains seasonal affective disorder or SAD.

When Lois Levin stepped into the bright sunshine on vacation, she noticed a drastic improvement in her mood.

"I was just euphoric. It was the intensity of the light that I was reacting to."

Levin suffers from a condition called seasonal affective disorder or SAD.  Seasonal Affective Disorder is really defined as depression that only happens in the fall & winter. Experts say it's not just about feeling blue. It's lack of interest of things, less enjoyment in things, an inability to get up and go.

Researchers blame shorter periods of sunlight during the winter. Treatment can be as simple as spending more time outdoors or using a light box, a device that simulates natural light. The idea is that you basically are replacing the amount of light that was present in the summer. It worked for Levin.

"It takes only a day or two for people to realize when they finally start to use a light box what a dramatic impact it can have on their behavior."

And a dramatic difference in their mood. 

For today's Health Minute, I'm Judy Fortin.

Light boxes range from 50 to 2-hundred dollars and can be ordered from a number of companies online.

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