Seasonal affective disorder: A forgotten mental disorder

Though holidays are known for happiness, many people find themselves struggling with seasonal affective disorder around the same time.
Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 10:36 PM CST
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PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - Though holidays are known for happiness, many people find themselves struggling with seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD, around the same time.

Hattiesburg Doctor David Bullock says that SAD is a form of depression that doesn’t have a true scientific cause.

“We think that may come about because of changes in our exposure to sunlight, as the time changes and as winter comes on,” said Bullock.

Due to the symptoms being similar to other mental disorders, Bullock says SAD is often overlooked.

“Some people will say they have the winter blues, cabin fever, that sort of thing, but it should be taken seriously because it can affect not only the patient but the patient’s family and friends around them,” said Bullock.

Barbara Jordan, a southern Mississippi native, says that she has been dealing with SAD for more than a decade.

“I take anxiety and depression medicine, but even with that during this time of the year, I have to force myself to want to go do family functions and stuff like that,” said Jordan.

Though the weather is drastically different, doctors encourage people dealing with SAD to do some outdoor activities to combat the somber feelings.

“I really encourage folks to get out get out in the sunshine, into the gym, to walk and bike and that type of thing,” said Bullock. “Don’t hesitate to discuss it with your healthcare professional.”

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports millions of people deal with SAD, and many go undiagnosed.

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