BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The fall and winter months are said to be the most wonderful time of the year.

“Seasonal affective disorder surely is more prevalent when we go from fall to winter,” said Dr. Ronald Andrews, Baton Rouge Pediatric and Internal Medicine Associates.

This is also known as the time when millions of people go through seasonal affective disorder, known as ‘SAD’ or winter blues. Dr. Ronald Andrews says SAD is a form of depression that happens when seasons change. He says a number of things can trigger it.

“The season brings so many different dynamics together,” said Andrews. “From finance to family, you know the time of travel, maybe one of those things brings you the most anxiety but, put them all together, all of a sudden it is enough to tip them over.”

Ochsner Physicist Dr. Courtney Gunn says a difference between major depression and seasonal is that you experience sadness during a season for two consecutive years. Gunn says daylight saving time plays a major role in your mood.

According to Gunn, more women experience SAD than men.

“In the fall wintertime there is less sunlight because of daylight saving time, when you have less sunlight, you have less serotonin,” said Gunn. “Oftentimes when people have seasonal affective disorder they are vitamin D deficits.”

Dr. Andrews says nearly 10 million people in the country experience seasonal depression.

Experts say there’s a list of things to do to help yourself out when it doesn’t feel like the jolliest time of the year.

“Getting outside will allow you to be around more people, be more active, it’s going to do things that would typically help with depression anyways,” said Gunn.

Gunn says since the start of the pandemic, more people are reaching out for mental health services, but the stigma still remains.

“I am seeing a lot more depression,” she said. “The depression I am seeing is just through the roof, way more severe cases.”

People can look out for the following red flags for the winter blues:

  • Isolation
  • Changes including mood swings, poor hygiene and ignoring phone calls
  • Concerned about things that usually don’t bother them
  • Lack of interest in activities

Health experts advise loved ones to pay close attention to those who deal with SAD. Andrews says something as small as being a good listener can go a far way.

Those seeking mental help can visit here.