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Beating Winter's Woes

If your mood is as cold and dark as your landscape, you're in good company. But here's how you can ease that seasonal slump.

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In addition to sunlight -- or more specifically, the lack of it -- the cold temperatures of this mean season may also play a role. "There is some evidence that people with a higher tolerance to cold tend to be less depressed than those who are more susceptible to cold," says Charles Raison, MD, of Emory University's Mind-Body Program and an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at its medical school.

"We also know there's a greater tendency toward depressive symptoms immediately following a viral illness," he tells WebMD. "When you get a cold, your immune system is stirred up in a way that it's a risk factor for depression." And you'll note, it is the cold and flu season.

So if you've got the winter blues -- especially in a deep shade -- here's your excuse to cash in those frequent flyer miles: "Sometimes, something as simple as taking a week or two vacation to Florida or somewhere sunny during January or February can make a really big difference," says Raison.

 

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Reviewed on January 21, 2004

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