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jan. 25 cabin fever side

January 25, 2002

Cabin fever?



Does winter give you cabin fever? Is there really such a thing?

Cabin fever is a well-known phenomenon, says Ron Pike, a social worker at the Mental Health Center in Hagerstown. "Just ask the people who are dumb enough to live in Michigan," he jokes.

Seasonal affective disorder - SAD - is something that has been getting more attention in recent years, Pike says.

He thinks that people who are predisposed to being anxious and depressed are more likely to suffer from this winter ill.

It really is important that people know that SAD does happen and be proactive if they feel themselves becoming more depressed day after day.

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Some of the symptoms are a change in your eating and sleeping habits, being irritable or sad without a specific triggering event, and having recurring bouts of sadness during the winter, when is dark outside for more hours of the day.

Tips for getting glad: remain active. Don't sit in front of the TV 23 hours a day, Pike says. Get out in the sunlight.

To shed additional light on SAD, check out

www.mentalhealth.com or American Family Physician at www.aafp.org/afp

- Kate Coleman

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