Winter doldrums and continual blues may be Seasonal Affective Disorder

LEWISTON, ID - Despite the happiness the holiday season breeds, winter is also a time when many people battle with depression.

KLEW News talks with a local therapist about how to combat low energy and depressive moods.

As the hustle and bustle of the holiday season comes and goes, the short days and cold nights remain. And it's this time of year that encourages the winter blues to stick around, overstaying their welcome.

"Not like a bad day once in awhile but a serious depression where a person may feel hopeless," said Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Lori Holder. "They may have very little energy, they certainly will have a depressed low mood."

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or more commonly known as seasonal depression, affects attitudes as the seasons change. Holder said up to 20% of Americans struggle with some form of depression during the winter season.

"It may change the functioning of melatonin," said Holder. "As well as the brain neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin."

While It's difficult to distinguish the difference between seasonal depression and textbook depression Holder said the onset of sadness during the fall is generally a sign of SAD. According to Web-MD, in southern parts of the world where sunshine is found year-round there are little to no cases of SAD.

"And certainly with the seasonal getting outside and getting the light is helpful," said Holder. "Even if it is cloudy it is still somewhat helpful."

Holder said SAD is more common in females. For those with more serious symptoms like suicidal thoughts, light therapy or counseling is recommended."

The state of Washington and Idaho have suicide prevention hotlines in cases of emergencies. For those numbers head to our Facebook page, just search KLEW news.