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Seasonal depression and beating the winter blues

Does this weather have you feeling down in the dumps? You might not be alone.

SCRANTON, Pa. — For many people, winter in northeastern and central Pennsylvania can feel like it lasts forever, and that's when the winter blues can set in.

Mid-January can be the hardest after the holidays, with bills piling up and the cold forcing people inside.

Bill Citino is the executive vice president of clinical services at Scranton Counseling Center. He says they see more patients this time of year with what they call seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder.

"Feeling sad, feeling lonely, maybe experiencing some weight loss or weight gain depending on how eating habits are formed, sleeplessness or restlessness, or sometimes oversleeping," Citino said.

During the winter, days are shorter and temperatures are low, causing people to spend more time inside.

"There's some research to suggest that less sunlight contributes to lower vitamin D levels in our body. And there's some correlation between vitamin D and a chemical in our brain called serotonin which is responsible for our moods."

There are ways to help get you out of that funk, by finding an activity you enjoy or trying something new.

Employees at the Salted Pixie in Archbald say they're seeing an increase in clients who take advantage of salt therapy.

"On top of just your mental health component of relaxing and getting out of your head, there are some definitely the physical benefits and the holistic approach," said Diane Wood.

If you've tried some of these things, are still feeling in a dark place, and need help, call your doctor or a mental health professional.

"It's important to get that support so we can offer you strategies, whether it's through traditional talk therapy, or if it warrants the need for any type of psychiatric care through like medication management with a psychiatrist," Citino added.

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