Shorter days are causing some people to have the winter blues - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Shorter days are causing some people to have the winter blues

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Winter can be a beautiful season. However, for some people, they feel down in the dumps and don't know why.

It's called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, and a local psychiatrist said it's a type of depression that usually occurs during the winter months.

"Because there are shorter days and longer nights," said Dr. Ejiro Agboro-Idahosa from the Associates for Psychiatric Services. "People have less exposure to sunlight and that triggers the symptoms."

Dr. Idahosa said that more than 9 percent of people living in colder climates, like here in the midwest, suffer from seasonal depression.

She said some of the symptoms include a decreased energy level, weight gain, loss of interest in activities, sleeping more than usual, craving and eating more starches and sweets and difficulty concentrating. In most cases, Dr. Idahosa says that seasonal affective disorder patients don't need a medication. They just need sunlight.

"Through different studies they've found out that light therapy works."

In light therapy, the patient is exposed to a special type of light. And this light, acting like the sun, gives the body the extra nutrients it's missing.

"So the goal is to have them exposed to sunlight within two hours of waking up in the morning," said Dr. Idahosa.

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