UVA Health doctor offers insight on SAD


CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) – Up to 10 million Americans experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD), according to CNN Health.

This affects people when there is little sunlight and cold temperatures.

Doctor Kim Penberthy with UVA Health says the changing season and our moods are linked to a biochemical imbalance in the brain.

“People do not realize there are two kinds of seasonal affective disorder,” Dr. Penberthy said.

She says people can experience SAD in the winter as well as in the spring.

“Low energy, feeling more irritable, more sad, and sort of less motivated. Some people feel very sleepy and sort of like they want to hibernate and not do anything.”

Dr. Penberthy says there are a few ways to combat this disorder: “During this time it can be helpful to kind of stay in contact with sort of the natural rhythms,” she said.

These include getting sun exposure, staying active, eating healthy, and limiting alcohol intake. It is also encouraged to stay connected with friends during the winter months, and to seek help if needed.

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