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Feeling blue this winter?

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Are the winter blues real? Yes they are. A number of people become depressed during winter season. There are various reasons for a person to experience depression in the fall and winter seasons, such as missing loved ones during the holidays and other disappointments; however, some people become depressed just because of the season.

The sun is instrumental in maintaining good health. The Sun provides us with vitamin D and helps maintain our circadian rhythms or internal clock (Rankin 2011). During the cold winter people are more apt to remain in doors and not participate in many outdoor activities (such as going to the park or zoo). This coupled with less daylight hours people do not get as much sunlight as they do in springtime and summer; therefore they develop depression. Typically the depression initiates during the fall continue into the winter and dissipate during the spring.

How do you know if you are depressed? In accordance with DSM-V, here are a few symptoms:
1. You do not find pleasure in most or all of the activities that used to bring you pleasure.
2. There is a change in your appetite; you are over eating and craving carbohydrates.
3. You are experiencing hypersomnia, where you are excessively sleepy.

What can you do if you think you have the winter blues?
1. Talk to your doctor; you want to be sure it is just winter blues.
2. Open our blinds to let more light in the house.
3. Exercise, exercising helps all forms of depression and is good for your overall health.

The winter blues do go away in the spring. They are only temporary. It is important to address any depression that continues past two weeks with your medical provider. Depression if left untreated can worsen.

References
Rankin, L. (2011). The nursing list: seasonal affective order vs. "winter blues". Ohio Nurses Review, 86(1), 16.
American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA American Psychiatric Association (2013)

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