Depression often begins when daylight saving ends

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CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) – We all got an extra hour of sleep this weekend as we set our clocks back an hour, ending daylight saving time. But could the changing of the clocks be linked to depression? A new study says yes.

Roxanna Foust was getting her sunlight hours in during lunch in downtown Carlisle.

“I drive to work in the dark and I come home in the dark,” she said.

Now that the clocks have changed, she’s preparing for winter and the “funk” that often comes with it.

“When the time changes, it gets dark and depressing,” Foust said. “It seems like all you do is go to work and get home.”

Foust isn’t alone. A new study shows significantly more people are diagnosed with depression in the weeks immediately after daylight saving ends.

Dr. John Gavazzi, a psychologist in Lemoyne, says his referrals are up.

“Less sunlight typically leads to lower amounts of neurotransmitters, which typically leads to more symptoms of depression or anxiety,” Gavazzi said, explaining that sunlight and happiness are biologically connected.

“Exercise more frequently,” he says if you can’t get outside during daylight. “Watch what you’re eating — a high protein, low carbohydrate diet. Get involved in more social activities.”

It’s always good to check with a doctor if you’re noticing symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. And look out for your kids, too.

“It’s good for parents to be good observers, so if they notice their kids are being irritable or dysphoric or not able to concentrate, those are signs they might be suffering through depression or anxiety,” Gavazzi said.

There are also doctor-approved light kits that help with depression related to lack of sunlight.

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