Do you ever feel like hibernating in the winter?  Like you just want to pull the covers up over your head and not come out until Spring?  Please keep reading because I’ve got some helpful information to share about what could be a common case of the winter blues, or something more serious known as Seasonal Affective Disorder.

I talked with Angela Lynch, a Licensed Professional Counselor with Ocean Mental Health Services.  She describes some of the symptons of “S.A.D:”

When a relationship exists between an individual's mood and the change of season, where it otherwise would not be related to any other stressors (i.e., bereavement, loss of job).
•      When mood symptoms diminish at a certain time of year (i.e., Springtime).
•      If in the last 2 years, an individual has had 2 major depressive episodes that demonstrate a seasonal pattern.
•      When the number of seasonal episodes outnumbers non-seasonal episodes.

Lynch says some symptoms are distressing but manageable, such as irritability, low energy, and difficulty concentrating.  Others start to interfere with our social lives and our jobs such as hypersensitivity, weight loss/gain, loss of interest in things you once enjoyed and sleep disturbances.  And then there are the severe symptoms like feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness or frequent thoughts of death or suicide.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing severe symptoms of SAD, Lynch encourages you to contact your local PESS department. Below is a link to all crisis screening centers throughout New Jersey:
http://www.nj.gov/njhealthlink/programdetails/screeningctr.html?pageID=Designated+Screening+Centers&file=file:/njhealthlink/programdetails/screeningctr.html&whichView=popUp
> For all things related to mental health and substance abuse in New Jersey you can check out:
http://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/dmhas/home/

You can get more information about seasonal depression or schedule an assessment through Ocean Mental Health at http://www.oceanmhs.org or (732) 575-1111.