Winter blues are a reoccurring type of depression associated with the change in seasons, and sometimes they can be triggered by the fall time change, which is especially hard on the internal clocks of certain people.
“The winter blues is a real thing,” said Dr. David Prescott of Northern Light Acadia Hospital. “In psychiatry or psychology, we call it seasonal affective disorder.”
“The onset is a specific time of the year [and] for most people that is right about now,” he added later.
The symptoms of winter blues are the same as depression.
“So what you look for are sadness for most days,” Prescott said. “It has to go on for two straight weeks. So if you have just a couple down days, like if now with the time change you're kind of feeling a little off your game, and in three or four days you reset, you're OK.”
People can also have trouble sleeping, suffer weight gain, lose interest in work or activities and become irritable.
It's estimated that around 20 percent of Mainers experience some seasonable mood changes. Light therapy, as well as changing eating habits and activities, or adding medications can help people with winter blues.
“Major depression and seasonal affective disorder is very treatable,” Prescott said. “So if it's starting to go on for more than two weeks. If it's starting to interfere with work or family life or just your own sense of well being and happiness. It's a real good idea to talk to somebody and get an objective opinion.”
THIS IS NIT-NOI RICKER IN BANGOR FOR ABC 7 AND FOX 22.