A WIGAN medical expert has warned of an increase in depression that tends to strike at this time of the year.
Dr Paul Campbell has advised residents to check for signs of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which is more common in the winter months.
Dr Campbell, who is Principal Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Lead for Primary Care Psychology Service (IAPT) in Ashton Wigan and Leigh, said that people who think they have symptoms of the disorder must visit their GP immediately.
He said: “The evidence of the disorder is a bit patchy to highlight exactly why it is brought on.
“The symptoms are very similar to that of depression except that patients tend to sleep too much with SAD and they appear to have an increase in weight as individuals tend to crave a lot more carbohydrates.
“This is linked with energy levels. They are the three tell-tale signs.
“Within the borough there are many options available to sufferers. We provide counselling and cognitive behaviour therapy which is the most affective.
“Light boxes have also become popular amongst patients which are readily available in places like Boots.”
SAD is considered a type of depression from which about five per cent of the population suffers.
Beth Murphy, Head of Information at the mental health charity Mind, said: “The winter months with their long nights and cold, wet weather can cause many of us to feel more down than we usually do.
“While some people may notice a small in dip in mood and experience ‘the winter blues’, others may be more severely affected by the lack of daylight, and develop SAD.
“Symptoms can include mood swings, feelings of depression and trouble sleeping, and generally feeling lethargic and unable to get going throughout the day.
“If you think that you might be experiencing SAD then there are lots of things you can do to try and boost your mood.
“Eating the right diet, cutting down on caffeine and getting some exercise can all help, as can spending as much time as possible outdoors.
“If your symptoms persist then you should visit your GP or call the Mind Infoline.”