What's Going Around: Seasonal Affective Disorder

TOLEDO, Ohio (13abc Action News) - Monday is a clear crisp fall day with sunny skies and brisk cool temperatures. However, as the clocks turned back an hour this past weekend, we will see fewer minutes of daylight and even fewer nice sunny days.

It's the beginning of Seasonal Affective Disorder season. Depression that traditionally starts in the Fall and leaves in the Spring for millions of Americans.

"Some people have a little and some people have a lot of it, it's a spectrum disorder," says Promedica Dr. Brian Kaminski, MD. "Living in the Midwest, we're more susceptible to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), we have long winters that are often dreary."

The symptoms of SAD are daily depression, low energy, sleep problems, weight gain or weight loss, agitation, difficulty concentrating and anxiety. It usually takes more than one year of these symptoms to be able to diagnosed it as SAD.

The cause of SAD is a disruption in a persons circadian rhythm. This is your body's internal clock and often the result of the time change in the fall. There is also a chance in melatonin and serotonin levels that affect your mood.

Treatment can include counseling, vitamin D supplements, anti-depressants, or light box therapy. Light therapy is usually done first thing in the morning for 20 to 30 minutes with a bulb intensity of 10-thousand lux of light.