Texas in Fall looks like New England in July.

The leaves are green, the skies are strewn with light and fluffy clouds that have a 20 percent chance of rain, but rarely prove out. The only tell is the light – by 7:30pm, darkness (though not the accompanying cold snap) has fallen.

autumn.jpg

According to the Mayo Clinic and the National Centers for Biotechnology Information, up to 14 percent of the population suffers from some form of the “winter blues”.

  • Being female. SAD is diagnosed more often in women than in men, but men may have more-severe symptoms.

  • Age. Young people have a higher risk of winter SAD, and winter SAD is less likely to occur in older adults.

  • Family history. People with SAD may be more likely to have blood relatives with SAD or another form of depression.

  • Having clinical depression or bipolar disorder. Symptoms of depression may worsen seasonally if you have one of these conditions.

To overcome these symptoms, researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health recommend many treatments that can help:

Light therapy

In light therapy, also called phototherapy, you sit a few feet from a special light therapy box so that you're exposed to bright light. Light therapy mimics natural outdoor light and appears to cause a change in brain chemicals linked to mood.

Medications

An extended-release version of the antidepressant bupropion (Wellbutrin XL, Aplenzin) may help prevent depressive episodes in people with a history of SAD. Other antidepressants also may commonly be used to treat SAD.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy, also called talk therapy, is another option to treat SAD. Psychotherapy can help you:

  • Identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors that may be making you feel worse

  • Learn healthy ways to cope with SAD

  • Learn how to manage stress

Ultimately, only you and your doctor can diagnose whether you have the ‘winter blues’ or SAD; but if drinking warm apple cider or steaming pumpkin lattes while still needing your air-conditioner on full blast, that odd sense of being out of sync might be more than just the blahs.

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