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A 25-year-old male asked:

what causes seasonal depression?

2 doctor answers9 doctors weighed in
Dr. David Hunter
Psychiatry 30 years experience
Changes in light: Most researchers believe that exposure to sunlight can impact mood. People with this disorder tend to find that the problem is worse during winter months when sunlight is less. There has been success with particular kinds of artificial lights that mimic sunlight. Medications are also effective for this kind of depression.
Dr. Michael Genovese
Psychiatry 20 years experience
Seasonal Depression: Seasonal affective disorder is hypothesized as lower levels of serotonin in certain parts of the brain secondary to decreased exposure to sunlight. This is the basis for phototherapy.

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Similar questions

A 37-year-old member asked:

Are there medications that can treat seasonal depression?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Kevin Considine
Family Medicine 30 years experience
Yes: Yes there are many options to treat seasonal depression including even light therapy. The medications most often used would be the ssri's or serotonin reuptake inhibitors as these are often the medications most tolerated by patients.
A 24-year-old member asked:

Could seasonal depression be the reason I have such a hard time in school?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Donald Hazlett
Psychiatry 54 years experience
Yes: Though sad is not common in academic problems it can play a role. Other reasons for failure in school: adhd, panic attacks, agoraphobia, social anxiety, learning disabilities, pervasive development disorders, conflicts in the home, financial pressures, drug and alcohol abuse, physical emotional or sexual abuse. Psychological testing and academic counseling to guide intervention is best.
A 34-year-old member asked:

How would I know if I have seasonal depression?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Donald Hazlett
Psychiatry 54 years experience
Sounds simple but--: There are some things to consider. Seasons determine the depression but it doesn't always occur in winter or be seasonal. It may also accompany major depression, complicating diagnosis and treatment. Any season can be the stimulus. Experience says even in a winter depression look for anniversary losses or trauma of any sort that is tied to a specific time of the year. They may be a true cause.
A 40-year-old member asked:

Is there an easy way to treat seasonal depression?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Donald Hazlett
Psychiatry 54 years experience
Sometimes: Light therapy that provides rays similar to sunshine on a daily basis can be quite helpful. It should be a source that is easy to use and maybe even portable. Otherwise there is a temptation not to use it. The closer to sunlight that is given off by the light , the better. If you can, get out into the sun every chance you get. Real sun and exercise is best.
A 38-year-old member asked:

Seasonal depression is a myth, right?

4 doctor answers36 doctors weighed in
Dr. Ankush Bansal
Internal Medicine 17 years experience
No: Seasonal affective disorder is a real disorder. Depression is a major symptom. This commonly occurs in the winter when there is less sunlight. It's more common in the northern latitudes. One treatment for it is artificial light therapy that mimics the rays of natural light.

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Last updated Sep 13, 2015
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