Does a white Christmas leave you feeling blue? Do you have no energy or motivation? These are all signs of the wintertime blues - otherwise known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) - that get even the best of us during the long, winter months when the days are short and temperatures are frigid.
According to Dr. Norman Rosenthal, psychiatrist and author of the "Winter Blues," up to 18 million Americans suffer from the condition each year.
SAD can be attributed to a few causes for those who are vulnerable: genetic susceptibility, environmental factors and the lack of light.
People can develop a cluster of symptoms that include low energy, difficulty waking up, dragging yourself through the day, trouble concentrating and troubled relationships.
Sleep increases, cravings for sweets and starches increase and overall feelings of sadness and depression can take over.
Jessica Bingham, LMSW, said the client load at Stillwater Counseling Services in Blackfoot increases dramatically during the winter months with SAD patients.
"It's the time of year when we see people who have lost their sparkle and productivity; their relationships are suffering. They aren't having fun," she said.
"It's also the time of year when we have people (particularly teenagers) who have thoughts of suicide," she said.
Bingham said "help is indeed available for those who are battling SAD."
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