For many Americans the winter is filled with positive thoughts of holidays, snow fights and sledding, but for some the season is the start of something dark and unpleasant. During the cold dark months of the winter people often suffer from the winter blues and in some serious cases Seasonal Affective Disorder. Clinical psychologist, Denise Kohler says you’ll know the difference, unlike the winter blues "SAD" affects a person’s ability to function.
"Not being able to sleep, it affects your appetite, it affects your energy level people have no motivation.. very little energy level and the more severe forms it actually affects how you think and some people actually become suicidal," said Kohler.
Substance Abuse Specialist, Steve Carrel says that unfortunately many people turn to illegal substances to help them cope with the change in seasons.
Winter in general is a time where people start using and abusing more, part of it is Ohio weather. It’s dark we don’t get as much sunlight therefore we don’t feel as emotionally well as we do when it’s sunny," said Carrel.
Kohler says before people take drastic measures to improve their mood they can try bringing more light into their homes, going outside and starting a exercise routine.
" Working out helps us produce serotonin a naturally occurring chemical in the brain that helps us boost our energy and helps us fight the winter blues."
David Ridenour says no matter the weather he is always moving to stay positive and healthy especially during the winter months.
"I try to go outside as much as possible even it’s cold you can dress for it it’s not a problem. I suggest people go out and do some exercise it helps a lot," said Ridenour.
If these easy home remedies aren’t enough to shake the winter blues you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder which requires special treatment to correct the hormonal imbalance that the lack of sunlight during the winter can cause.
"It’s not a hopeless situation there is medication, the standard anti depressants like you might’ve heard of Prozac and Zoloft and things like that and there’s light therapy that actually mimics the daylight," said Kohler
If you think that you are suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder or a mild case of the winter blues you should contact a specialist to set up an appointment.