PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – Seasonal Affective Disorder, SAD, is very common during this time of the year. Many people are stuck inside and begin experiencing ‘cabin fever.’

SAD is known as the winter blues, winter depression, summer blues, seasonal depression or mood disorders. Throughout the year, the weather tends to affect our emotions. Many people find themselves feeling sad, eating more carbohydrates and even sleeping more.

Dr. Alicia Kaplan, a psychiatrist for the Allegheny Health Network, says don’t feel guilty because that’s probably the worst thing to do. She recommends having a project handy to keep yourself occupied.

“There are a lot of ways to cope with feeling depressed from the weather,” said Dr. Kaplan. “Many people find that exercising helps, having friends over or even cleaning around the house.”

With the increase in school closings and delays, more people tend to talk about the weather. Dr. Kaplan feels that talking about it is contagious and then more people become concerned and aware.

Doctors have yet to officially determine what exactly causes SAD, but they have a few ideas. One theory believes that a person’s internal biological clock, melatonin, is affected by the weather and causes this depression. While another thought places the blame on the neurotransmitters, like serotonin.

She states that this depression can range from mild to severe, but you should seek a medical professional’s opinion before beginning any medication. Sometimes anti-depressants can help, but there’s also bright-light therapy.

“There are many ways to treat depression, everyone is different,” said Dr. Kaplan. “Remember not to feel guilty about feeling sluggish, don’t let this get you down. The weather will change, there is an end in sight.”


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