Seasonal depression could be tied to sunlight - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Seasonal depression could be tied to sunlight

 

 

December 3, 2002

Albany -- The holidays are a happy time for most people, but this time of year brings on depression in some. One South Georgian who triumphed over depression spends the holidays helping others with their mental health.

Stuart Perry fought depression as a young man. Through his work at Middle Flint Behavior Health Center, he knows holiday depression is real. Perry said "We're trying to educate people on it. Trying to teach people the symptoms of seasonal depression."

For some it may be more than a case of the holiday blues. Perry believes many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. As the weather turns colder, and people spend more time indoors, it's believed the body produces less melatonin, causing depression in many.

Perry said "I know I have to have as much sunlight as I can. Because it helps my seratonin level, which is the mechanism in the brain, the mood elevator that moves up and down. That helps you feel good or bad. Sunlight plays a huge part."

Some of the warning signs of SAD include depressed mood, fatigue, lack of energy, sleeping much more than usual, increased appetite, especially for starches and sugar, weight gain, and reduced work productivity. Help for SAD can be as easy as getting outside in the light.

Perry said, "To get outside in that sunlight. Be outside. Moving about, getting out of the house. Getting on with projects. Doing those things that you normally do. Keep moving, keep moving."

In October, Perry was named a winner of the national GOAL, or Go Out and Live award. GOAL is a national award for people who beat depression and help others through volunteering. Perry will spend a lot of the holidays, trying to stop misery in many who suffer with their mental health.

Stuart Perry will hold programs to help others fight holiday depression. December 17th he will speak in Cordele, and on December 19th in Americus.

posted at 4:40 by jimw@walb.com