Mother Nature Got You Down? (NBC 33 VIDEO)

By Eric DeFreeuw

March 19, 2013 Updated Mar 19, 2013 at 6:41 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.nbc33.com) – Even though Wednesday is the first day of spring, chances are Mother Nature is not done messing with just yet. If all the changes in weather get you down, you may be suffering from what’s known as "seasonal depression," or "seasonal affective disorder."

It’s actually more common than typical forms of depression, which affects roughly 7 percent of the population, but a lot of the symptoms are the same. These include a loss of appetite, lack of motivation, or lowered self-confidence. Where seasonal depression is different however is these symptoms are brought on by changes in the weather.

Seasonal depression typically spans from September through late March or even early April. And while the use of medication is common, other treatment options like "mood lamps" and exercise are also recommended.

"I'm (a) very strong advocate of treating it,” says Dr. Stephen Ross, a clinical psychologist. “If you're going to treat it medicinally you also need to treat it physically with cutting back on carbohydrates, cutting back on the drinking, increase in your exercise."

While this may seem like a diet, in some ways the best way to treat seasonal depression is through a lifestyle change similar to dieting.

Some sufferers report a lack of self-confidence in the way they look while others tend to become unmotivated and lazy. So to combat this, Dr. Ross says getting out of the house and away from the desk are great ways to treat this problem.

Even doing simple things like meeting up with friends after work, or enrolling in a new fitness class at your gym may help. Dr. Ross even mentioned going for a walk on days when Mother Nature cooperates. Getting outside for some fresh air and sunshine can sometimes be enough to shake a groggy mood.

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