Got the Winter Weather Blues? It Could Be Seasonal Depression (NBC33 VIDEO)

By Eric DeFreeuw - NBC33

January 23, 2014 Updated Jan 23, 2014 at 7:24 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (NBC33) - As we draw into the deepest and darkest of winter months Hoosiers are getting hit hard with seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.), better known as seasonal depression. Women are four times as likely to suffer from its symptoms than men.

Seasonal depression happens when your body lacks Vitamin D, resulting in feelings of sadness and fatigue that can lead to overeating.

Seasonal depression is unique however, in that it only has affects in winter months instead of year-round symptoms seen with regular depression.

"We want to look at the types of pattern they've had with their depression month by month by month," says psychiatrist Dr. Jay Fawver. "We'll ask them 'how did you feel in July? How did you feel in August compared to now?' A lot of people perceive that winter depression or seasonal affective depression is caused by the cold, snowy weather. That's not what causes it. It's the dark days of winter."

Luckily, fighting off symptoms of seasonal depression can be relatively simple.

"Stay socially active, get around people - be with people over the winter."

As Dr. Fawver points out, northern Indiana gets cold, but it's nothing compared to more northern states.

"They do a wonderful job of that up in Minnesota and Wisconsin where they make festivals out of their winter climate. They stay active in the winter time, they embrace winter. We should try to do the same thing from a social standpoint and from a physical exercise standpoint."

Dr. Fawver recommends talking with your family physician about the possibility of trying a Vitamin D supplement as well.

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