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Doctors See Rise in Seasonal Depression

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EUGENE, Ore. — If this week’s fog is making you feel down, you’re not alone. Researchers say little to no sunshine can take a toll on your mood.

Experts say the days after the holidays can be a depressing time. Add to that the shorter days and dense fog, and the conditions are ripe for Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.

According to the National Mental Health Disorders Association, approximately 10 to 20 percent of the U.S. population suffers from mild SAD during the winter months. Nearly 5 percent suffers from a more severe form of the disorder and doctors are seeing an increase in patients in Lane County.

“There’s a fall onset type that’s pretty prevalent at this time of the year, usually after the holidays in the emergency department. For example, we have an increase in the volume of patients that we can see complaining about depression,” says PeaceHealth Professional Counselor David Neale.

Symptoms should be taken seriously because doctors say it could be a form of depression. They include lack of energy, feeling hopeless, loss of interest in activity and changes in appetite and sleep patterns.

The good news is, there are ways to beat it. Some treatment options include light therapy, taking Vitamin D and exercise.

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