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Daily Newscasts

SAD? – You Are Not Alone

January 3, 2011

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The holidays are behind us, but the days are still short and colder, with a lot less sunlight. These factors can have an adverse effect on the mental health of some Nevadans. It's called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and the National Mental Health Association says the condition is estimated to affect 10 million Americans.

Jesse Bell, a clinician at Genesis Behavioral Health, describes the symptoms, which can be debilitating.

"Signs are sadness, lack of interest in activities that typically motivate you or cause enjoyment, lack of interest in social activities and, in general, lack of motivation."

The most important thing is to take care of yourself if you are prone to this type of depression, Bell says. Various treatments are available, such as medications, talk and group therapy, as well as light therapies. Bell adds to be sure to notify your doctor about any symptoms you may be experiencing.

Other symptoms can include oversleeping, irritability, weight gain and a change in appetite such as craving starchy foods. SAD can also go hand-in-hand with other types of depression, Bell explains.

"Someone who has regular depression can actually see a worsening of their depressive symptoms throughout the winter months, and someone who may not be depressed at all may experience the depressive symptoms in amalgamation or in some form during those winter months."

The National Mental Health Association says three out of four SAD sufferers are women. The main age of onset of SAD is between 18 and 30.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NV