Weather blues? What you need to know about seasonal depression

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JACKSON, MI (WILX) -- We've all been there, feeling a little down because of the overcast weather.

But what if that is more than just feeling blue?

You've probably heard of the term 'seasonal depression,' and with the weather Mid-Michigan has had recently, it's no wonder that about 10 percent of the population suffers from it.

"The lack of sunlight certainly will have an impact. So you can carry over some of the symptoms from the winter as far as not having enough exposure to sunlight. It can cause some ongoing depression," Lifeways Community Mental Health Chief Clinical and Quality Officer Gina Costa said.

That can mean not eating enough or eating too much. You could have weird sleeping patterns, or just feel more down than normal. Symptoms usually ramp up in the January to February months, but everyone is different.

"For the general public that may be impacted, it really is about their functioning and how big of an impact that has."

Just because the weather might be getting nicer, that doesn't mean you're out of the woods. Seasonal summer depression affects around five percent of the population and usually hits around August.

"With the summer seasonal affective disorder, it's more focused on agitation of the individual sleep disturbances, not really eating--those kind of symptoms show up in the summer," Costa explained.

Regardless of the reason or season, experts say it's important to not take it lightly and get help if your behavior starts to change or you have a "bad day" every day.

"For some individuals, the depression can set in and it can cause some thoughts of suicide. Everyone has different risk factors, different family history, so it's important to not ignore what you're feeling."

Seasonal depression doesn't discriminate. Even if you don't have any prior history of mental illness, you can still have it.

Lifeways has a 24-hour crisis helpline. If you need help, call (800) 284-8288.

If you or someone you know is in distress, help is available. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is available 24/7 to provide free and confidential support. Call 1-800-273-8255. You can also text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741.

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