Seasonal Affective Disorder Common This Time of Year

Alcohol consumption is known to increase around the holidays, but it may not have as much to do with the increase in social opportunities as it does with the onset of seasonal affective disorder.

A recent piece in The News Messenger found that as many as 10 to 20 percent of the national population suffers from this type of depression that tends to follow the changing of the seasons.

Winter depression is the most common of these disorders, which usually begins in late fall or early winter. It is known to go away by summer. Winter depression is often the result of less daylight, winter weather and the holidays.

For some, the holidays bring reminders of situations that are difficult to deal with. According to the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians, as many as 500,000 people across the nation are affected by winter depression.

In Ohio, Sandusky County conducted a health assessment that revealed roughly 9 percent of those surveyed indicated they felt sad or helpless for two or more weeks in a row. Another two percent of those surveyed reported they had considered attempting suicide. The state captured data from 2006 to 2008 showed that 21 deaths occurred due to suicide.

Symptoms associated with seasonal affective disorder can include a change in appetite, loss of sexual desire, loss of sleep, a heavy feeling in the arms or legs and a drop in energy level. Individuals can also have difficulty concentrating, may experience irritability and increased sensitivity to social rejection and avoidance of social interactions.

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