BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- When the winter months seem to drag on it can affect our moods. We have all heard of the 'winter blues,' but mental health professionals explain it could be something more serious. It is a fairly new diagnosis, seasonal affective disorder.
Director of Outpatient Services Doctor Vijay Amarendran with Acadia Hospital explained, "You start getting depressed late fall, early winter and the depression continues to last through the winter."
Seasonal affective disorder, according to Dr. Amarendran, is common in places where there is less sunlight during the winter months. Maine is a prime location.
While more patients have come in seeking treatment, Amarendran said it is still an under reported and under diagnosed illness, especially in Maine.
Dr. Amarendran said, "The most common symptoms of seasonal affective disorder happen in the morning. That's what most people with seasonal affective disorder seem to struggle with, 'I cant get out of bed to go to work. I cant seem to get energy to leave my bed in the morning.'"
Other symptoms include anxiety, loss of energy, social withdrawal, difficulty sleeping, and a loss of interest in usually enjoyable activities.
The illness can carry a wide range of symptoms from sleepless nights to suicidal thoughts.
Acadia Hospital does offer a free depression screening tool on their website.