Q:  This time of year, I get very moody and depressed. Is this common?  What can I do?

A:  Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that some people get during the short days of winter. You feel unhappy and tired. Your family may think you are grouchy during winter. We think that having less natural light may cause it. Light therapy is usually the treatment. You are near artificial bright lights for a set period of time, each winter day. You can use antidepressants. You may need to try different antidepressants before you find the one that works best. They do have side effects, but they go away after a while. I suggest exercise. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days. Walking is a good choice. An indoor treadmill will work, if you unable to walk outside. Eat a healthy balanced diet. This will also help keep you from gaining weight, which is a problem with this.  Avoid alcohol. Do not make major decisions, now. Do things you usually enjoy, even if you don’t really want to. Plan a vacation to a warm, sunny site and wait for spring.

Dr. Rick Casey

Questions can be submitted directly to the providers, called in to Mercy Clinic at 417/876-5851 or submitted through their new App

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