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Cold, Darkness Can Lead To Winter Blues

(Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

(Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Paul Kurtz Paul Kurtz
Paul Kurtz is a Philadelphia native who has been working as a reporter...
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By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – For many people, the middle of winter brings on a bout with the blues. But the condition may be more widespread this season.

“The clinical term is Seasonal Affective Disorder,” says Sean Duffy.

Duffy is an assistant professor of Pscyhology at Rutgers-Camden. He says Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is triggered by cabin fever — too much time indoors and not fresh air and sunshine.

But Duffy says there are ways to battle back:

“One way in which to combat it is the use of sun lamps that mimics sunlight because a lot of the reason why people experience this has to do with the lack of light. There are lightbulbs that have the correct spectrum for the sun and people can sit underneath them and that tends to help a lot.”

And the most important time to get that light is in the morning.

At this time of year, most of us wake up when its dark. Bright light tends to get the internal body clock back on a track with daylight saving time.

Duffy suspects that, with this winter being particularly severe, there are more cases of “winter blues” than normal.

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