A Western New Yorker's definition of Forever - the time between Christmas and May 1st.

We all know spring is just around the corner, we had a taste of it this past Monday, but for the majority of us, it can’t arrive soon enough. This year's Blizzard, January snowfall, and sub-zero temperatures haven't helped.

It is estimated six percent of Americans suffer not just from simple winter doldrums, but from a condition known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

"SAD is a very real condition,” says Dr. Joanne May, psychologist at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. “Some people may experience normal mood and energy levels through most of the year, but then feel depressed during the long winter months when there’s much less natural light. Where you live can have a lot to do with how you’re affected. SAD affects only about 1 percent of Florida, but an estimated 10 percent of the people living in New Hampshire and Alaska.”

It is thought that chemicals in the brain linked to mood, may be triggered by natural sunlight.

“While you’re waiting for the days to get a little longer with the coming of spring, many therapists suggest the use of light therapy to treat SAD,” Dr. May says. “Light therapy is thought to target brain chemicals that are linked to mood. Some find they start to feel better soon after starting light therapy.”

There are different types of light therapy including bright light treatment, and exposure to natural sunlight. If you're feeling depressed it is always helpful to talk to your doctor or a therapist.

Read more on Seasonal Affective Disorder and light therapy here.  Google also lists a number of places in the Buffalo area that deal with this disorder and related therapies.

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