Christmas time is here at last but those suffering from S.A.D. may be a little blue.
"Seasonal Affective Disorder is a depression that occurs mainly in the winter time," says Supervisor Psychologist at Westbrook Health Services, Lisa Hutzler. "Research that I have read suggests it has to do with a lack of sunshine. During the summer time, we're outside and there's a light coming in our windows- that helps us make vitamin D."
Too little Vitamin D could mean depression but there are ways to combat the symptoms.
"Get as much sunlight as you can. Spend some time outside, 20 or 30 minutes outside. Even on a gloomy day," Hutzler says. "Exercise is excellent. That's a very good treatment for any type of depression, actually. And, there are medications."
It's not just seasonal affective disorder that is more potent during the holidays.
WTAP spoke with a mother who lost her son a few years ago. She says the weeks surrounding Christmas are some of the hardest.
"I just wanted to withdraw from everyone. I just... I hurt so bad because my only child was gone," she explains.
Seeking medical attention for depression, be it seasonal, situational or otherwise, can help you get through the holidays with less pain.
"Mental illness, whether its depression or bipolar disorder, are chronic illnesses just like heart disease or diabetes," Hutzler says. "It's not a character flaw... its an actual illness that can be treated."
When The Unthinkable Happens- The Death Of A Child
Thursday Nights- November 10th, 2011- January 12th, 2012
Westbrook Health Services is offering a free group to parents tho have experienced the death of a child. The group meets at 6:30 PM. All parents are welcome.
Westbrook Health Services
2121 Seventh Street