Is Your Gloomy Mood Something More than the Winter Blues?

When the skies become gray and the wind starts to howl, moods can change too.

“I don’t really feel like going outside and hanging out with friends and I guess waking up for school in the morning you see the gloomy sky and it kind of freaks me out I guess,” says Mikaylan Hackley of Colorado.

For some the winter weather can get you down.

For others, Seasonal Affective Disorder can affect your daily life.

“It certainly can cause feelings of worthlessness and inappropriate guilt,” says Essentia Clinical Psychologist, Megan Spencer.

“I was just telling my fiance how I hate the winter weather. It makes me depressed, gets dark sooner. Nothing really to do, just sit inside being cold. I hate it,” says Cristta Whiteowl of Fargo.

And while the winter weather usually triggers a more severe response, symptoms of seasonal affective disorder usually begin to appear around the fall.

“With that seasonal change it kind of triggers that change in your brain,” says Dr. Spencer.

A change that can appear in all aspects of your life.

“Lack of interest in things they normally enjoy things that make them happy,” says Dr. Spencer.

In order to be diagnosed with the disorder, within a two year period you must experience the major depression during a seasonal change.

“A depressive episode doesn’t necessarily mean you’re experiencing this,” says Dr. Spencer.

But it’s a feeling that’s not to be taken lightly.

“It’s far more serious than just feeling down or feeling the blues. It’s really a constellation of things that make up the major depression that can last the entire course of fall and winter,” says Dr. Spencer.

Dr. Spencer says about seven percent of the general population suffers from this disorder.

She says if you are suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, don’t ignore it and talk with a psychologist.

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