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With winter's arrival, reflect on need for light

(CNN) -- All those holiday lights now blanketing trees, houses, bushes, mantels, tables and more are meant to be merry, bright and even meaningful. Who knows, they may also reflect a healthy impulse.

An increasing number of people are discovering their winter blues and blahs may be symptoms of a medical condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.

The disorder is linked to the reduced amount of light in winter. SAD symptoms crop up as the days grow shorter, then dissipate as the days grow longer.

Symptoms can include feelings of despair, lethargy, irritability and anxiety, social withdrawal, difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbances and cravings for carbohydrates and sugars. A commonly recommended therapy involves sitting in front of especially bright lamps.

In this piece highlighted by CNN.com's "y: why it matters" feature, CNN London Bureau Chief Tom Mintier examines the SAD condition against the backdrop of Britain's short dark days. Need video plugins? Click here.

One final note: In the Northern Hemisphere, Thursday's arrival of winter means there are 89 days until spring begins March 20. And remember, the summer sun is shining just a hemisphere away to the south.


*RELATED VIDEO
bond Tom Mintier

CNN London Bureau Chief
CNN's Tom Mintier reports on Seasonal Affective Disorder

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RELATED STORIES:
CNN.com: Health
  • Condition Clinic: SAD

RELATED SITES:
Mayo Clinic: Seasonal Affective Disorder
National Mental Health Association: SAD Fact Sheet
SAD Association

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