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Seasonal Depression

How To Fight The Holiday Blues

As the temperature drops and the sun goes down, it is common for people to experience depression.

This type of mental illness is called seasonal affective disorder, said Mike Vodusek of the Mental Health Center.

It is common for many people to feel sad during the winter months and around the holiday season. However, depression maybe a problem if it is impacting the way a person lives their life.

If depression is impacting one’s life, there are a variety of ways to fight it.

"Many patients work with a light box," Vodusek said.

Patients sit in front of the small box filled with fluorescent light.

"The reason the light box works is because in the winter time there is less light. That can have an affect on people and make them depressed," Vodusek said. "The light box compensates for that."

The light box is prescribed by a doctor.

If the light box is not helpful, a doctor may prescribe antidepression medication and psychotherapy.

"Therapy and medication or a light box works better than medication alone," Vodusek said. "It is normal for people to have ups and downs, but if depression is impacting your work, your family, your social life, then you should reach out for help."

Loudoun County residents with seasonal affective disorder can find help at local depression support groups.

The Reston/Sterling Depression and Related Affective Disorders Association meets the first and third Tuesdays of each month, from 7-9 p.m. For more information, contact Jan at 703-431-0045 or Traci at 703-433-1448.