The holidays can trigger the blues for some people but medical experts say it's not just the holidays, it's the season, the weather and the shorter days. Curt Constant, director of Adult Behavioral Health Services at Mercy Behavioral Health, says 20% to 30% of the general population suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), another manifestation of depression. Constant says getting up while it's dark and going home from work when it's dark can lead to SAD, and these depressed episodes can alternate with periods of normal mood or even high mood over the spring and summer.
Bright light therapy, especially fluorescent light, is considered to be the first line treatment, as well as counseling and anti-depressant medications. Constant says no group is predisposed to SAD and symptoms include daytime fatigue, oversleeping, social withdrawal and carbohydrate craving.