• By Joel Streed

Feeling blue? Mayo Clinic doctor talks seasonal affective disorder

December 24, 2011

When fall colors fade and winter rolls in with its increasingly cold temperatures and dwindling daylight, there's a good chance you've felt sluggish, moody and like you're stuck in a funk.

Those symptoms are typical of someone experiencing seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, a type of depression that typically occurs during the winter months.

Symptoms include sleeping too much, overeating, loss of energy, social withdrawal and difficulty concentrating. People residing in Northern latitudes are more likely to experience SAD.     When fall colors fade and winter rolls in with its increasingly cold temperatures and dwindling daylight, there's a good chance you've felt sluggish, moody and like you're stuck in a funk.

Those symptoms are typical of someone experiencing seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, a type of depression that typically occurs during the winter months.

Symptoms include sleeping too much, overeating, loss of energy, social withdrawal and difficulty concentrating. People residing in Northern latitudes are more likely to experience SAD.

While many people periodically experience some elements of SAD in winter , Mayo Clinic sleep specialist and psychiatrist Robert Auger, M.D., says you should seek professional help if your symptoms begin to affect your ability to perform at work and/or begin to take a toll on your personal relationships.  Seeking clinical help is particularly important if you begin to feel hopeless, or have thoughts of self-harm, he says.

Dr. Auger offers these tips to keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the winter:

  • Get outside -- There is no substitute for natural light. If you work during the day, try to go for a walk during a break or lunch.
  • Light therapy boxes can help boost your mood when you're unable to get outdoors.
    Get regular exercise -- At least three times a week for 30 minutes.
  • Stay social -- Interact with family and friends on a regular basis.

Dr. Auger is available for radio, broadcast and print interviews on seasonal affective disorder throughout the winter. For broadcast quality video and radio of Auger speaking about SAD, visit newsblog.mayoclinic.org. To schedule an interview with Dr. Auger, contact Nick Hanson at 507-284-5005 or [email protected]

While many people periodically experience some elements of SAD in winter , Mayo Clinic sleep specialist and psychiatrist Robert Auger, M.D., says you should seek professional help if your symptoms begin to affect your ability to perform at work and/or begin to take a toll on your personal relationships.  Seeking clinical help is particularly important if you begin to feel hopeless, or have thoughts of self-harm, he says.

Dr. Auger offers these tips to keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the winter:

  • Get outside -- There is no substitute for natural light. If you work during the day, try to go for a walk during a break or lunch.
  • Light therapy boxes can help boost your mood when you're unable to get outdoors.
    Get regular exercise -- At least three times a week for 30 minutes.
  • Stay social -- Interact with family and friends on a regular basis.

Dr. Auger is available for radio, broadcast and print interviews on seasonal affective disorder throughout the winter. For broadcast quality video and radio of Auger speaking about SAD, visit newsblog.mayoclinic.org. To schedule an interview with Dr. Auger, contact Nick Hanson at 507-284-5005 or [email protected]

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