WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) -- Seasonal depression is a real challenge, especially when comes in what's supposed to be a joyful time of year.
The technical term for this type of depression is called Seasonal Affective Disorder also known as SAD.
SAD can bring all the signs and symptoms of major depression but it occurs within one season.
Laura Schwab-Reese, a Public Health Professor at Purdue said SAD is more common in the Midwest than any other region.
“It's thought to be related to darkness so we don't get as much sun in this part of the country,” said Schwab-Reese.
Schwab-Reese said in states like Florida Seasonal Affective Disorder isn't very common. In fact, residents living closer to the equator, are 9 times less likely to experience the disease.
“It's thought that folks who experience Seasonal Affective Disorder have differences in melatonin processing. They actually produce more melatonin, which increases sleepiness, fatigue, need for more sleep,” said Schwab-Reese.
Schwab-Reese said the feeling of wanting to snuggle up and catch up on your Netflix series during these colder months doesn't necessarily mean you're experiencing SAD.
“You're not able to go to school or you're not able to go to work or you're having a lot of disruption in your social relationships, it's really when it starts to disrupt what you think of as your functioning that it's a problem,” said Schwab-Reese.
There are four remedies Schwab-Reese said have been proven to help those struggling with SAD. One is melatonin medication prescribed by a doctor, another is psychotherapy. She also recommends a light box, which was created to mimic outdoor light. And also vitamin D, taken with the other three remedies.
Schwab-Reese said something she found interesting is SAD can also occur in the summer. Except with the opposite effect of not waiting to eat or sleep.
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