By: Andrew LimbergBy Larry Richert

PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – It happens every year around this time. Cabin fever sets in and people seem to be a little edgier. With the seemingly constant cold temperatures and snow this winter, people’s moods seem worse than usual.

Psychiatrist Dr. Patton Van Nickell with Allegheny General Hospital joined KDKA Radio’s Larry Richert and John Shumway to identify if you have the winter blues, or something different and how to deal with it.

“It starts to interfere with your functioning. People are avoiding you because you’re really snippy,” Dr. Van Nickell said.

If that’s the case, you could be developing a more serious issue.

So, what is seasonal affective disorder or SAD?

“It is a form of depression that seems to correlate directly with relative lack of sun light,” Dr. Van Nickell said. “The farther north from the equator you go, the higher the prevalence of this condition in the winter months.”

There is good news in regards to treating the condition.

“It responds to artificial sunlight about the same frequency depression responds to anti-depressant medications,” Dr. Van Nickell said.

What about those of us that don’t have seasonal affective disorder, but just have common winter blues? Dr. Van Nickell says you can look ahead to warmer days.

“Get adequate sleep, don’t drink too much, try to get some regular exercise,” Dr. Van Nickell said.

A sense of humor helps too.

“You can either put up with it, or move to Florida,” Dr. Van Nickell jokingly said.

Listen to the KDKA Morning News with Larry Richert and John Shumway weekdays from 5 to 9 a.m.

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