11 doctors weighed in:

How can I tell the difference between the normal winter blues and actual depression?

11 doctors weighed in
Dr. Ralph Morgan Lewis
Family Medicine
6 doctors agree

In brief: Winter blues

Depression is not seasonal; it persists year round, unless treated.
Even then it may take some time to feel "normal". Winter blues is also called seasonal affective disorder (sad); usually occurs in fall & winter, when we have less exposure to sunlight. Sad responds some to antidepressants but even more to full-spectrum light—sun or special light therapy lamps. Even grow lights may help.

In brief: Winter blues

Depression is not seasonal; it persists year round, unless treated.
Even then it may take some time to feel "normal". Winter blues is also called seasonal affective disorder (sad); usually occurs in fall & winter, when we have less exposure to sunlight. Sad responds some to antidepressants but even more to full-spectrum light—sun or special light therapy lamps. Even grow lights may help.
Dr. Ralph Morgan Lewis
Dr. Ralph Morgan Lewis
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1 comment
Dr. Patricia Foster
Agree with grow lights. They're effective and less costly than light therapy products which can be expensive.
Dr. Stephen Perret
Pediatrics - Psychiatry
2 doctors agree

In brief: Think carefully

It may be hard to see at first but by asking the question, you may already have an answer. Depression is categorized by several symptoms including changes in sleep, appetite, mood, energy, and sometimes suicidal thoughts.
I would say if the "winter blues" are affecting you greatly or of course if you're having suicidal thoughts, i'd seek professional help -- and soon.

In brief: Think carefully

It may be hard to see at first but by asking the question, you may already have an answer. Depression is categorized by several symptoms including changes in sleep, appetite, mood, energy, and sometimes suicidal thoughts.
I would say if the "winter blues" are affecting you greatly or of course if you're having suicidal thoughts, i'd seek professional help -- and soon.
Dr. Stephen Perret
Dr. Stephen Perret
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Dr. Philip Kennedy
Family Medicine

In brief: Ability to function

Full depression interrupts your normal activities and makes it hard to function.
If you are just mildly sad, it is probably the winter blues. Many times exposure to light therapy, which is a box that emits natural light, can relieve depression or the winter blues. If you are having frequent crying spells, i would consider that to be more like depression. Good luck!

In brief: Ability to function

Full depression interrupts your normal activities and makes it hard to function.
If you are just mildly sad, it is probably the winter blues. Many times exposure to light therapy, which is a box that emits natural light, can relieve depression or the winter blues. If you are having frequent crying spells, i would consider that to be more like depression. Good luck!
Dr. Philip Kennedy
Dr. Philip Kennedy
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