Winter can be a difficult season, especially for those who struggle with depression.

Some suffer from seasonal affective disorder, a form of depression that manifests itself during the dark winter months. Others are struggling to find work or help family members who have lost their jobs.

People sometimes forget that depression is a disease. It is often biochemical in nature and a person cannot simply will themselves to feel better or “snap out of it.”

It can also be a very serious illness leading to suicide, substance abuse or other problems.

Symptoms include changes in sleep patterns (excessive sleeping or trouble sleeping), agitation, irritability, dramatic change in appetite with weight loss or gain, withdrawal from usual activities, and feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness and guilt.

“An estimated 19 million American adults are living with major depression,” according to WebMD.

Those who are suffering thoughts of suicide or battling chronic depression need to seek medical help. The Mid-Coast Mental Health Center can direct people to the help they need. The center’s local office is at 15 Mid-Coast Drive in Belfast and can be contacted at 207-338-2295. The number for the crisis line is 888-568-1112.

For those with mild cases of the winter blues or depression, online sources suggest that a healthy diet and exercise can help alleviate symptoms.