Winter spells depression for many. As the days get colder and darker, more number of people in the northern hemisphere are starting to face a sharp fall in their energy levels and are often found depressed. However, German Press Agency DPA quoted Ulrich Hegerl, a professor and director of the psychiatric clinic at Leipzig University as saying that “this needn’t be an illness.” Instead, one should distinguish it from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Hegerl, Chairman of the German Alliance against Depression, an independent, non-profit organization noted that SAD is a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year. Unlike other forms of depression that might include symptoms such as insomnia and poor appetite, SAD patients might often face food cravings and go on a binge eating spree resulting in weight gain.

Noticing that daylight is the key to curing SAD, he suggested that a mere half-hour walk after getting up in the morning could help. He also said no matter how much illuminated a room is, it will not have the same benefit of breathing fresh air in an open and sunny area.

Sharing his experience he said that most people who are depressed in the winter had depression unrelated to the season. The first symptoms, he said, are gloomy thoughts and a feeling of hopelessness. Most of them fail to meet a psychiatrist or neurologist.

Further, he also said “depressives lack drive in life and blame themselves, and therefore have great difficulty seeking help.” Relatives in such cases should make a doctor's appointment for the sufferer and encourage him or her to get assistance.