Palmetto Parent 2010 December Issue : Page 37

PHOTO BY MICKEY GARRISON Toni Morton and her son, Jackson, enjoy a cool day outdoors. Because of the heat, Morton said getting outdoors during the summer was a struggle. “Because we were stuck in the house so much, I noticed I was getting cabin fever — I couldn’t get outside to get sunlight,” Morton says. Learn how to treat seasonal affective disorder T oni Morton welcomes the coming of winter. Morton, a Lexington resident and blogger at tonistreehouse.com, said she struggled during the hot Midlands summer as she and her son, Jackson, now 1½, stayed indoors to avoid the heat. “This summer when it was so hot and it was just miserable, I could not get cool,” Morton said. “Because we were stuck in the house so much, I noticed I was getting cabin fever — I couldn’t get outside to get sunlight.” Instead, Morton took Jackson outdoors December 2010 in the early morning or after the sun had set. She found ways to cope, but is counting on cooler temperatures to afford more time outdoors. But for some people, the opposite is true. Short days and cooler temperatures drive them indoors and they find themselves facing an insidious struggle that comes and goes with the seasons. Seasonal affective disorder, commonly known as SAD, is a type of major depres-sion, according to Laura Smith, a New Mexico psychologist and co-author of www.palmettoparent.com several books including “Seasonal Affective Disorder for Dummies.” “People tend to feel low and sad, but unlike depression, it comes and goes with the seasons,” she said. “It’s thought to be caused not by the cold, but by the lack of light.” Smith said SAD mimics a type of hiber-nation, in a sense. “You slow down,” she said. “You tend to eat more carbs. You want to stay in bed with the covers over your head.” South Carolina Department of Mental Health psychologist Sean Dolan said SAD Palmetto Parent 37

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