Psych Central

A few years ago, Chuck and I were asked to write Seasonal Affective Disorder For Dummies. SAD is thought to be a biologically caused type of depression related to the lack of sunlight in the winter. We had a great time researching and writing the material—including a trip to Alaska to interview people who live months without seeing sun and one to Merida Mexico, an area close to the equator which gets pretty steady sunlight times all year long.

Here in New Mexico, we enjoy more sunny days than most locations; however, our days get shorter like most other regions. I can recall growing up in Michigan and feeling pretty weary in February. I wasn’t diagnosed (everyone I knew felt the same), but the dirty snow piled on the streets, the continued cold, and darkness of February were pretty depressing.

Generally, I love winter in New Mexico. Most days are cold and crisp and sunny. But this year, we’ve had a lot of storms, wind, and gray skies. I notice feeling less energy, less motivation, and a bit melancholy—it’s hard to get in gear. I wouldn’t mind sitting in front of the fire wrapped up in blankets, reading a trashy novel, and eating chocolate. Can I be diagnosed with SAD? Well, not really. Although my sluggishness feels overwhelming, I am writing this blog, organizing the TOC for the next book project (note to our editor: don’t worry), and working on a research project. And I want to go outside and start a garden soon. So, I’ve got a case of the winter blues, not SAD.

Cure? Go to and put in your location. For example today, Thursday,  the sun rises at 6:49 and sets at 5:50 in New Mexico. On the 28th, the last day of the month, the sun rises at 6:37 and sets at 6:00—twenty more minutes of sunlight by the end of the month. Think of the light and be happy. But more than light is involved. SAD is usually very treatable. We cover approaches involving light, psychotherapy, medications, and more in Seasonal Affective Disorder For Dummies. Have a hopeful day!



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Prof.Lakshman (February 18, 2010)

From Psych Central's website:
PsychCentral (February 18, 2010)

From Psych Central's Drs. Laura L. Smith & Charles H. Elliott:
uberVU - social comments (February 18, 2010)

    Last reviewed: 18 Feb 2010

APA Reference
Smith, L. (2010). Winter Blues and Hope. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 21, 2014, from


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Laura L. Smith, Ph.D. and Charles H. Elliott, Ph.D. are authors of many books, including Overcoming Anxiety for Dummies and Child Psychology & Development for Dummies.

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