COLUMBUS – It isn’t even technically fall yet but some people are already gearing up for winter.
The reason behind the preparation is a good one. 10TV learned why preparing for one common winter-time concern now can save some people a struggle down the line.
“When I turned about 30 I started noticing that I got depressed in the winter and I’d start having problems with the decreased day and just, low energy, didn’t feel good, didn’t want to do anything, didn’t want to go out,” said Benjamin Edwards.
Edwards is an E.R. social worker at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital so he’s familiar with the signs of depression.
“I see it a lot in patients,” he said.
But Edwards noticed a pattern in his own depression.
“The difference is that it doesn’t go away,” he said. “It stays. And so normally if I’m just having a bad day, the next day I feel fine again. But with the seasonal affective, it’ll just go on and on and on and I’ll notice also that on days that are sunny, I feel better.”
Specifically, Edwards suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
“We do know that there’s a correlation between lack of vitamin D that you might naturally get from sunlight and the onset or worsening of depressive symptoms in many people,” said Dr. Megan Schabbing, the assistant director for psychiatric emergency services with OhioHealth.
So as the days get shorter… “For some people, those symptoms can really limit their ability to function, whether it be at work or at home or at school,” Dr. Schabbing said.
Edwards knows he can prepare for seasonal depression in advance by getting outside, booking winter trips to sunnier places and using light therapy, which mimics outdoor light.
“What I’ve found is that with the decrease in daylight that I do start feeling more down and I can get ahead of the curve, so if I start in September, I can sort of head it off so that it doesn’t get as bad,” Edwards said.
When looking into treatment for SAD, Dr. Schabbing explained that basic treatments for depression such as antidepressants or psychotherapy can be very effective, along with the addition of tools like light therapy.
For more information on SAD, click here.
The final HOOFit Walk for the 2019 season is Thursday, September 19.
Learn more about SAD and other ways to stay fit this winter by taking a walk at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium with OhioHealth physicians.
The walk starts at 9:30 a.m. Find more information on the HOOFit Walks by clicking here.