Beating the blues: Expert provides tips to curb Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Daylight Saving time ends Sunday, which means the sun will set about one hour earlier. This can cause some seasonal blues that may start this time of year and stick around through the winter months.

Experts say in a given year about five percent of Americans experience Seasonal Affective Disorder and about 20 percent experience milder forms of the disorder.

Many people start to feel down with the shift in seasons, maybe feeling sluggish or having a change in mood from time to time. But some may experience more serious symptoms that can affect their day-to-day life.

Treatments commonly include light therapy, medications, Vitamin D supplements, and psychotherapy. 

The Vice President of Behavioral Health at UnityPoint, Kevin Carroll said that people should make a conscious effort to eat a well-balanced diet, exercise, see friends and spend more time outdoors.

“I think some of the best treatments for depressive symptoms, including those around Seasonal Affective Disorder are things that you would naturally think of. Getting outside on a nice, sunny winter day, or even late fall to be outside even to go for a cool brisk walk for 15 minutes is a great way to help your body in mind,” said Carroll.

If you are experiencing things like low energy, irritability, a sense of hopelessness, and diminished interest in things you are used to doing, you should follow up with your primary care provider.

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