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Depression Health Center

Questions and Answers About Winter Depression

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Should I go to more therapy sessions in winter?

Going to additional therapy sessions -- or perhaps joining a support group -- may help.

Another idea, suggested by some therapists, is simply to do "homework" between your formal therapy sessions. That could include keeping a mood log to identify your negative moods, analyzing them, and trying to evaluate and then change your negative thoughts. Try to reduce the tendency you may have when you are depressed to be highly critical of yourself.

Make an effort to stop "ruminating" -- going over and over an upsetting incident, or your perceived shortcomings -- which only makes you feel worse.

What else can I do, short of moving to the tropics, to help winter depression?

Light therapy has been proven effective to treat seasonal depression. It can be used in combination with talk therapy, antidepressant medication, and supplements of the hormone melatonin, which can help synchronize the body clock.

Light therapy involves using a 10,000 lux light box indoors for about 20-30 minutes each morning. Ask your doctor which type of light box he or she prefers, and get specific instructions on what time of day to use it, and for how long.

Getting outdoors in sunlight also helps some people with depression symptoms. So does getting regular exercise, maintaining social activity, and talking with friends.

Resist the urge to overeat. Most experts recommend a diet with enough protein and plenty of complex carbohydrate-containing foods such as whole grain products and starchy vegetables (instead of simple carbohydrates such as candy and soda).

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on September 07, 2014
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