Harvard Men's Health Watch

On call: Winter depression

On call

Winter depression

Q. My wife gets down in the dumps each January. She thinks it's just because the holidays have come and gone, but I think it's more than that. Is it depression?

A. Your wife may just have a case of the "January blahs," or she may have seasonal affective disorder (SAD), better known as winter depression.

Winter depression is common, accounting for about 10% of major depressions. It can run in families, which suggests it has a genetic basis. And it is most prevalent in northern climates, which suggests that a lack of daylight contributes to the problem.

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