Fading daylight along with dropping temperatures during winters can leave many with winter blues, but a few have severe symptoms that can affect work and well-being.

Seasonal affective disorder or SAD is a kind of depression that occurs at a certain time of the year, usually winters. Some people even get the summer blues or SAD during the summers, though it is less common.

Symptoms of SAD include feeling hopeless, gaining weight, increased sleep, social withdrawal, being irritated or unhappy, loss of energy and the ability to concentrate, losing a desire to work or being sluggish.

What causes the depression isn't known. According to Mayo Clinic, a person's genetic makeup, age, circadian rhythm of the body, levels of brain chemical like serotonin or change in the levels of hormone melatonin may explain why some people get SAD during winters while others don't.

William Weggel, psychiatrist from Mayo Clinic Health System has tips to cope with winter depression:

  • Get outside - if you work in an office, try to go for a short walk during lunch break.
  • Light therapy boxes can help when you are feeling low.
  • Socialize - talking with friends and family can reduce the sadness that comes with winter.
  • Exercise and eat well - regular exercise can help you cope with the stress and a good diet ensures that you have adequate energy.

"There are many people who experience winter blues. However, there are those who are experiencing more serious symptoms. The good news is that in most cases, we are able to find a treatment plan to help the patient through the winter months," said William Weggel, M.D., a Mayo Clinic Health System psychiatrist.