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Seasonal Affective Disorder Is More Than Just The Winter Blues

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — As the worst of winter begins to set in, with the cold, ice and snow forcing many Iowans to stay indoors, health officials expect a rise in cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.

Jodi Harms, program director of the Senior Life Solutions Department at Van Diest Medical Center in Webster City, says SAD can be much more than the winter blahs or blues.

Symptoms can include: feeling depressed, losing interest in activities you once enjoyed, having low energy, problems sleeping, changes in your appetite or weight, feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty. While the disorder may appear as early as October or as late as May, it’s prevalent during the wintertime because the weather often forces us to remain indoors.

One estimate says as much as one-quarter of the population may suffer from SAD, and it’s severe for perhaps five-percent. Getting outside, even if there’s not much light, can help some people. Mary Limas, a senior life therapist at the hospital, says recognizing there may be a problem is the first big step.

Special, powerful lights also can offer help, as well as having a good diet and getting enough exercise.

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