Andrew Harrison

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Video: Changing Family: Beating the Seasonal Blues

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – It’s been slowly happening since late June.

Our days are getting shorter.

Lately, if the sun comes out at all, it only shines for about 10 hours.

You don’t have to wait until March to feel warm and fuzzy again.

It’s getting pretty bleak out there.

The last of the leaves are hanging on for dear life against a slate gray sky.

The sun is setting at about quarter until 5.

If rotten weather has you ready for Rorschach Test, you’re not alone.

As many as 1 in 4 Americans could suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder.

So what is it?

Wendie Woods is a licensed professional counselor.

She is also the Executive and Clinical Director at Christian Changes Counseling in Starkville.

Wendie says, ” It is a real thing. It is a form of depression. It is not clinical in nature, but it is identified as being a form or depression.”

True to its name, Seasonal Affective Disorder typically begins the late Fall or early Winter.

Wendie explains, ” What normally happens is that our body is used to receiving sunshine and happy days, and the days get shorter and shorter, and our body responds to less light, less melatonin, affects brain chemistry, and we start to have a change of mood, maybe a little more melancholy or a little more fatigued or tired.”

The first step to beating SAD is talking to your family members see if they’ve noticed a change in your behavior.

If you get a resounding ‘yes’, it’s time to call the doctor.

Wendie advises, “Certainly you don’t want to try to medicate yourself, you do want to talk to a physician or family doctor, but something as simple as an over the counter supplement like melatonin can help.”

Wendie recommends staying out of the tanning bed, but your doctor could prescribe light therapy.

Wendie explains, ” You may need to sit under a warm light. Usually that’s done in the morning for about 20 minutes, so you have to have the correct bulb and the safe wattage.”

Other good things to do:  get exercising, meet people, eat healthy, and know that your  S-A-D will likely pass.

Wendie concludes, ” With Seasonal Affective Disorder, absolutely, it is common that by the time we get to Springtime we start feeling a little bit better. We start becoming more active. Hard to say if that’s because we are experiencing more light or we are just tired of the Wintertime and we actually want to get out and do something fun and that increases the mood and that stimulates us us to do more and feel better.”

Wendie says that more women suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder than men.

You can reach Wendie at Woods@ChristianChanges.com