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Can a person suffer from this as well as other types of depression?

Since the time changed here at the end of October (shorter days) I can tell a huge difference in how I'm coping with things and it's not good.

Or am I a psychiatric hypochondriac? Ok, I'm kind of kidding there. Pretty much.

Janet :)

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Yes, you can have seasonal affective disorder in addition to other issues, or people who suffer from dysthymia, major depression, an anxiety disorder, or even bipolar disorder, etc., may find that at this time of year (in the northern hemisphere) they experience a "drop" in mood.
I don't know if it is SAD in my case, but I find that my mood, as well as my OCD tendencies get much worse in the wintertime. Around this time I become very preoccupied with the sunrise and sunsets. This preoccupation tends to last from October to around March, when days are quite short.

janet: Judging from your pictures, I am guessing you are from North Carolina. What time does the sun set around there now? In darkest Ottawa, the sun sets a little before 4:30 right now.
I am very close to North Carolina and the sun is setting about 5:15.

Do you pay close attention to the sunrise and sunset every day? Do you dread sunset? I like sunsets because I like taking pictures of them, but I dread the darkness that follows. It's much worse in the winter, but the sunsets are also much prettier.
I don't dread susets, I actually quite enjoy them. Like you, I hate the darkness. I hate waking up in the dark (sun rises at 7:11 this morning) and I hate going home from work in the dark (sunset at 4:26). The problem with living farther north is that the sun is barely present in the winter. The flip side of this is that in the summer, the sun can set as late as 9:30, with twilight extending well beyond 10:00. I love those days.

Daniel E.
I live in nearer the equator in Florida where it is always sunny, so I may be clueless...but...maybe it would help to work/read/live near as many windows as possible when the sun is out during the day.
sunlight does help me a lot. Today (and the last three days) have been really cloudy, foggy and icky and I feel really down. This morning started out sunny and I was working on things that needed to get done, but when the clouds covered up the sun I just started feeling so low. Maybe I should move to Florida or maybe I should be a bear in my next life and semi-hibernate. I kind of do that anyway.

Daniel E.
Earlier this year, I saw a two-hour lecture on PBS (public TV) by Dr. Marie-Annette Brown, who said that some people are more likely to feel depressed if they stay indoors a lot without seeing sunlight, regardless of the season:

When they stop and think about it, it seems as though their bodies were more depressed than their minds.
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Daniel E.
The most interesting finding from website is that moderate-intensity exercise can be better or just as good as very intense exercise for combatting anxiety/depression:

The program uses short-duration (20 minutes), moderate-intensity exercise, which research now shows is the best mood booster of all. While more vigorous exercise is better at improving cardiovascular fitness and burning calories, it is less effective at relieving depression and anxiety. In fact, high-intensity exercise can even add to a person’s stress level. (It produces what researchers call “tense arousal” rather than the more desirable “energetic arousal.”)

Another new finding is that you only have to exercise for 20 minutes a day to experience a marked change in mood and energy level. Surprisingly, exercising for a longer period of time gives you no further mood benefits. If you’re exercising to feel good, 20 minutes is enough! In my work with patients, I’ve learned that this amount of exercise can be added to even the most hectic schedule. This is a "no excuses" program. is for sale | HugeDomains


Seasonal affect Disorder

I'd like to comment on light therapy. As many of you probably know, in 1993 a task force appointed by the APA offically recommended bright light therapy for the treatment of SAD and related depressive disorders. Since then many articles have been published by the APA confirming the efficacy of therapuetic bright light. Although this type of treatment was discovered by the National Institute of Health in 1982, it took a decade for the APA to acknowledge it. In that decade thousands of studies had been done with light therapy. Now the latest discovery is Blue light therapy or short wave length light. This will probably take some years before you will see any general acceptance. As for me, I found this to work wonderfully on my circadian rhythm Disorder. Any feed back from anyone else who has tried this new concentrated form of wave length?
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