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Hoosiers Battle Season Affective Disorder

Last updated on Monday, January 27, 2014

(UNDATED) - Now’s the time of year when many Hoosiers suffer from “Seasonal Affective Disorder.” That’s depression that hits after the first of the year and is associated with the long, cold, dark days of winter.

Indianapolis-based Dr. Greg Sipes says SAD has the same symptoms as general depression - sadness, fatigue, irritability, inability to concentrate, social withdrawal, among others - and is often linked to the lack of light and weight gain.

Sipes says even though winter brings shorter days, this winter should result in less seasonal affective disorder. Sipes says data shows that cities that have more snow tend to have fewer incidents of SAD. He says that's because snow creates a brighter environment that helps counteract the effects of depression.

Sipes says photo-therapy is very effective in treating SAD. He says it can also be treated through exercise, psychotherapy, natural sunlight, getting outside more and medicine.

Sipes says SAD differs from general depression in that it's temporary; it usually hits in January and lasts until May. Sipes says SAD also has a genetic component and some people are prone to getting it each year.

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