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Solutions for S.A.D. winter

SPRINGFIELD -- Call it what you will, the "wintertime blues," or something with a more serious tone, "seasonal affective disorder" (SAD).
SPRINGFIELD -- Call it what you will, the "wintertime blues," or something with a more serious tone, "seasonal affective disorder" (SAD). Whatever the name, some doctors say this winter, extremely cold temperatures could keep more people shut in making them susceptible to SAD. WCIA-3's Alex Davis learned what people can do to shake things up when they're feeling down this season.

"You know, summertime, we're outside, we're doing things and we're not really so much focused on how we're feeling because we're busier."

Every fall and winter over the past decade, Dan Wilson has slipped into seasonal affective disorder.

"After I started treating the disorder, you know, noticing the difference in the way I felt through the winter season, you know, it kind of got me to thinking, maybe, you know, I have lived with this for longer than I realized."

It's a type of depression which affects 6% of Americans each cold season.

"SAD is specifically related to the time factor. It's fall, winter, gets better in the spring and then, through the year, they do fine."

Dr. Kasturi Kripakaran regularly sees patients with SAD. If people feel down around this time every year because they're cold and cooped up inside their homes, then it's probably more than just a case of the "winter blues."

"People tend to have this depressive disorder when the days get shorter. So, they're exposed to less light and that in turn, affects the sleep-wake cycle."

They symptoms they live with zap energy, alter moods and motivation.

"They're more irritable, grumpy, kind of moody. Tend to not be very interested in their normal, regular activities. They tend to crave for carbohydrates, weight gain."

Dr. Kripakaran says the solution is as simple as letting in a little natural light.

"They need to get out of the house and be around sunlight. Open their curtains or try a light box."

If that doesn't work, Dr. Kripakaran suggests visiting a psychiatrist to get on a mild anti-depressant.
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