Center for Primary Care Warns Against Signs of Seasonal Depression

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Seasonal Depression typically begins in fall and ends in spring.

Seasonal depression, often called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), occurs each year at the same time, usually starting in fall, worsening in winter, and ending in spring. It is more than just "the winter blues" or "cabin fever." A rare form of SAD, known as "summer depression," begins in late spring or early summer and ends in fall. The Center for Primary Care is reminding people of the usual signs when someone is suffering from SAD.

People who suffer from SAD have many of the common signs of depression, including sadness, anxiety, irritability, a loss of interest in their usual activities, an inability to concentrate, extreme fatigue and lack of energy, a “leaden” sensation in the limbs, an increased need for sleep, a craving for carbohydrates and an accompanying weight gain.

Though the exact cause of SAD is not known, the evidence to date strongly suggests that—for those with an inherent vulnerability—it’s triggered by changes in the availability of sunlight. One theory is that with decreased exposure to sunlight, the internal biological clock that regulates mood, sleep, and hormones is shifted. Exposure to light may reset the biological clock.

Another theory is that brain chemicals that transmit information between nerves, called neurotransmitters (eg. serotonin), may be altered in individuals with SAD. It is believed that exposure to light can correct these imbalances.

It is very important that someone who may be suffering from SAD not diagnose themselves. If experiencing symptoms of depression, see a doctor for a thorough assessment. Sometimes physical problems can cause depression. Other times however, symptoms of SAD are part of a more complex psychiatric problem.

Research now shows that phototherapy, also known as bright light therapy, is an effective treatment for SAD. Sometimes, antidepressant medication is used alone or in combination with light therapy. Spending time outdoors during the day can be helpful, as well as maximizing the amount of sunlight received at home and in the office.
<br>About the company:<br>Center for Primary Care has been a leader in family medicine for families of the CSRA since 1993. The family medical practice features 27 family doctors, and seven existing locations throughout the Augusta, GA area. The primary care facility offers convenient office hours that include weekday evenings as well as weekend acute care.

CPC provides patients of all ages with the most accessible, convenient, personal healthcare available in a family practice. Among the many services offered include routine evaluations, physical exams by a family physician, diagnostic imaging, and preventative care. Listings for all seven locations, including specific physicians, directions, and hours of operations can be found on the Center for Primary Care’s website. For more information visit their website at

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Renee Whiteley
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