Winter Months Can Cause Major Depression

Reported by: Ellen Bryan
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Updated: 1/23 12:01 am

Colder days and less daylight can lead to serious medical issues, according to psychiatrists.

Paul Dalton, a clinical counselor in Lexington, said as the days gets shorter, people can feel tired and fatigued.

“Sometimes people sleep more, sometimes people sleep less,” Dalton.

He said he treats many people every year for major depression with a seasonal pattern.

According to Dalton, the number of people who come in for Seasonal Affective Disorder increases in the fall and spring. Meaning the patients are either anticipating the long winter or are reacting to symptoms as the season comes to an end.

Dalton said other signs of seasonal depression also include an increase in eating carbohydrates and being irritable.

“And at its extreme, some people can have suicidal thoughts,” he said.

Some of Dalton’s ways to prevent depression in the winter: light therapy, get out of the house, exercise, go to social events and plan a trip during the winter months.

He said Kentucky has some of the worst weather for seasonal depression because of long stretches of gloomy, cloudy days.

A local tanning salon, Bella Bronz Tanning in Lexington, said they’ve seen around a 40 percent increase in customers since the weather turned cold.

“They just want to sit in here forever because it's so cold out there,” employee Rachel Broughton said. “So I think that like an escape to get out of the cold weather.”

Managers said customers are also using the tanning beds to get ready for spring break trips.

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