(CNN) – Winter can be a tough season. This year, with colder temperatures and snow in areas that don’t normally see snowflakes, a lot of folks just want these dreary days to go away. However, there are ways to fight the winter blues.
It’s estimated at least 12-million Americans suffer from a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. Doctors say in severe cases, people with SAD become depressed. Many patients claim they just can’t function.
That’s because the brain goes through a chemical imbalance due to a lack of sunlight, which can lead to a number of symptoms. These include fatigue, lack of energy, oversleeping, difficulty concentrating and cravings for foods high in carbohydrates that can cause weight gain.
There are ways that SAD can be treated. Modify your diet and exercise more. There are specially designed light boxes that are used to treat those with SAD and if the problem becomes serious. Some doctors will recommend anti-depressants or psychotherapy to help patients get through the dark days of winter.
Another tip is to be with family. Laughter and togetherness are great therapy for the winter blues. It’s a perfect way to stay warm, even if the temperatures outside are frigid.