KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tourists and residents alike love to flock to East Tennessee to take in the beauty of the changing leaves of fall, but the glorious colors don’t last long. The change in seasons ushers in almost bare branches and grey days. 

The changing of the seasons can also impact moods, especially when people switch to the grey days of fall and winter. 

Maggie Klotz, Ph.D., HSP is a psychologist with Knoxville Counseling and Psychological Services.

She says for some, the change can take a toll on mental health, “On days where it might be really gloomy, this weekend, the time changed. And so, this is kind of a common time for people to start feeling that. But seasonal depression is going to be more than just, you know, your mood changing for a day or so. You might hear people talk about the winter blues. It’s been called Seasonal Affective Disorder.”

Dr. Klotz says seasonal depression presents itself much like regular depression but hits around late Fall.

“And so, it would be things like having a depressed mood and that would be for most of the day, recurring, like most days of the week, most of the day. You’d see that depressed mood, the sadness, and loss of interest or pleasure in things that you would normally enjoy doing. You might feel fatigued, rundown, tired a lot of times with depression as well. There’s a change in your appetite or sleep.”

Often seasonal depression will also have you craving carbs more than usual. If you feel like you’re showing some of these symptoms there is treatment. Medication, seeing a therapist or even incorporating a light therapy lamp.

“One of the things we know about seasonal depression is that one of the causes is sunlight deficiency essentially. So, these lights actually allow us to, you know, spend depending on the strength of them, spend kind of 30 minutes a day under that lamp and so that sometimes is a good option,” Dr. Klotz says.

Dr. Klotz encourages speaking with a primary care physician or a therapist to see what’s the best treatment. She recommends keeping a daily routine, exercising and healthy eating to help stave off Seasonal Affective Disorder.

The Cleveland Clinic says about five percent of adults in the US experience seasonal depression and it affects women more than men.