a special program of the National Emergency Medicine Association (NEMA) 

Transcripts: 554.4 & 554.5

Week: 554.4 Guest: Dr. Jack Vaeth, Psychiatrist, Sheppard Pratt Hospital, Baltimore, Md. Topic: The Winter Blues- (Seasonal Affective Disorder) SAD, Part One of Two Producer/Host: Steve Girard

NEMA: What are the winter blues? The answer coming up....

SPOT: NEMA...the National Emergency Medicine Association... fights our worst health enemies- heart disease, stroke, trauma. Call 800-332-6362.

NEMA: A lot of things change with the seasons...during winter it could be our mood... Dr. Jack Vaeth of Sheppard Pratt Hospital in Baltimore...

VAETH: Winter blues is a slang term or nickname for what we call Seasonal Affective Disorder, and it is seemingly rather physiological or biological in nature. These people will become more depressed as Fall goes into Winter, and as Winter progresses, become very depressed.

NEMA: ...And it's not just an "I hate the cold and snow" mood...Dr. Vaeth says there are systemic changes...less sleep, low energy, loss of concentration...and even feeling suicidal. What's behind these physical changes?

VAETH: Some of the ongoing most prominent theories involve the changes in light - some of these people improve greatly when they are treated with phototherapy...

NEMA: ...And Dr. Vaeth says the extra light may help the brain better regulate the secretion of certain substances, melatonin among them. Routine therapies are also used. He says the way to find out if you have the Winter blues is to ask yourself...does this deep depression occur only in winter..and does it affect the areas we just mentioned. If so, check in with your doctor. I'm Steve Girard for the Heart of the Matter.


Week: 554.4 Guest: Dr. Jack Vaeth, Psychiatrist, Sheppard Pratt Hospital, Baltimore, Md. Topic: Holiday Blues- Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder (SAD), Part 2 of 2 Producer/Host: Steve Girard

NEMA: Holiday depressions....coming up...

SPOT: 15 years in the prevention of heart disease, stroke and trauma - the National Emergency Medicine Association. Call 800-332-6362.

NEMA: We've talked with Dr. Jack Vaeth of Sheppard Pratt Hospital in Baltimore on the Winter blues, or seasonal affective disorder...where some people are affected physiologically by seasonal change and lack of light. Holiday blues are different...

VAETH: It might be a lot more environmentally related. The problem is that during the Christmas season, we see ideal examples of life, and then we reflect on ours and see we don't lead these ideals. We'll see the shortcomings of our lives, whether it's divorces, separations, substance abuse problems, being in a dead end job, having not achieved what we thought we thought we needed to.

NEMA: And I guess, we should understand how far we've come, and recognize the things we have done...

VAETH: ...and even more importantly, let's stop looking back, and draw a line and say, it's Christmas 1996, and this is what I'm going to accomplish in 1997.

NEMA: Holiday blues can develop into something more get some help if your depression lasts more than a couple of weeks, accompanied by changes in your sleep and eating habits, or your interest in hobbies or friends. I'm Steve Girard for the Heart of the Matter.