Doctors worry seasonal depression could compound mental health amid COVID-19 pandemic

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The sunny days are shorter and it's getting darker earlier. Many people experience seasonal depression this time of year as it is, but doctors are now worried about how this is playing out alongside a pandemic.

The Cleveland Clinic says people are already feeling low grade depression because of COVID-19.

Add seasonal affective disorder to this already challenging time and they say fall and winter are shaping up to be a real mental health struggle.

"If we're already feeling some helplessness, hopelessness, irritability, confinement and we add the winter months to it - short daylight hours, limited exposure to daylight; those that are experiencing seasonal affective disorder are going to really be challenged," said Scott Bea, PsyD/Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Bea suggests getting ahead of these feelings before winter arrives.

Some suggestions: commit to any kind of exercise or movement program. It will have a positive impact on your mood.

Even while we maintain social distancing, he says you can still maintain social connections.

Also, he says activity scheduling, while virtual or safely in person, can really help with depression.

Dr. Bea also recommends a therapy lamp as a sort of sunshine alternative.

He says that has been proven to help with seasonal depression.
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