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MADISON, Wis. - Outside, the snow and cold are starting to weigh down on people. The weather is especially affecting those with Seasonal Affective Disorder, SAD, which is a type of depression that changes with the season.
“It affects about 5% of the people in the United States, but it’s different in depression as people don’t have symptoms year round. It really seems to be directly related to the winter time, fall time, and the amounts of sun exposure that people have,” said Dr. Megan Jensen, a family medicine physician at Dean Health Care.
Doctors suggest that with the lack of sun in these few cold months, to look for other ways to get Vitamin D exposure.
“Sitting where there’s lights instead of the dark, people can actually get lights for their home as well as either just having lights turned on early in the morning before the sun is actually coming up. Or we can prescribe light therapy as well for people, which is found to be really helpful,” said Jensen.
A few other ways to beat the depression could be taking a 15 minute walk outside daily and finding ways to exercise, like joining a gym or even going ice skating.
The biggest suggestion doctors give is to look into Vitamin D supplements.
“Living in Wisconsin, even honestly year round, you could not get enough Vitamin D to be adequate. Most people should be taking a Vitamin D supplement,” said Jensen.
It is suggested that people take around 1,000 to 2,000 national units of Vitamin D daily.
If you are worried about seasonal depression affecting your life, experts suggest to see a physician instead of self-diagnosing.
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