Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen says seasonal affective disorder is real and can lead to serious issues.
"I miss those long, warm, sunny days of summer, and I'm not alone in these sentiments," he wrote in his blog for the Smart Living Network. "Many people experience a decline in their mood in the late fall and winter months, which are short on sunlight. For some, this creates significant disorder in their lives."
VanWingen said his blog brings the disorder to light (pun intended to lighten things up, another pun) and offers some helpful ideas in combating the problem.
He estimates that up to 5 percent of the U.S. population experiences the disorder in a given year. S.A.D. is most common in early to middle adulthood, declining among older persons, and higher among women.
"Obviously, geography plays in huge here with northern latitudes being at greater risk," VanWingen wrote.
Yes, we know West Michigan gets less sunlight during the winter than just about anywhere. So, the disorder may be more prevalent here than, say, Florida.
To read more of VanWingen's blog about S.A.D., its causes and possible help, click here.