Seasonal Affective Disorder; Symptoms & How To Cope

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Wednesday will mark four days since folks in Nashville saw clear skies and some sun. If you think your mood may be changing because of it, you could be right.

It's called Seasonal Affective Disorder and across America between 4 to 6 percent of the population experience seasonal depression. 

"The intensity and visibility of sunlight affects seasonal effective disorder," Dr. Samuel Okpaku said.

Okpaku is a Psychiatrist with more than 50 years of experience. "The further you are away from the equator the more likely you're going to have seasonal affective disorder," he explained. 

Tennessee is definitely not the furthest away from teh equator but our southern sunny days have disappeared and for the last several, gray clouds and rain have put a damper on the new year. 

"In the winter and fall months some people are prone to have depression," Okpaku said. 

Symptoms of SAD are the same as depression and include; lack of pleasure, disturbed sleep, excessive eating or lack of an appetite, lack of interest and lack of energy. 

"When its very severe sometimes suicidal feelings," said Okpaku. 

Okpaku said people between the ages of 18 and 30 may be more at risk for experiencing seasonal depression and across the country 10 to 20 percent of the population have a mild form of depression. 

"Part of being human being is being vulnerable to depression. I don't think you can love unless you have the capacity to be depressed," said Okpaku. 

To cope he said folks should get a lot sleep, eat well and healthy, exercise and expose yourself to sunlight or a sun-lamp if there isn't any. 

For more information on SAD visit; https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20364722 

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