SPOKANE, Wash. -

These gray skies can sure bring on the winter blues. But is it just that or perhaps something more? Winter months in the Pacific Northwest are often known to bring on Seasonal Affective Disorder.

With the weather we've been seeing in Spokane it's not a huge surprise that people often experience SAD. Doctors say it is a real thing and is classified as a modifier to serious depression.

Even in the most beautiful of cities, gray skies can make people feel, well, kind of blue.

"It only affects me when we have low light and the less light we have, like right now, the more depressed I can get," said Spokane Valley resident Midge Stumm, who has SAD.

"I'd love to go to Palm Spring and spend the winter but it's a little cost prohibitive," she added.

Instead she uses several methods to beat the blues.

"Chocolate is probably the best one but the worst on my hips," she said with a smile.

While some attribute the winter blues to just plain old grumpiness, doctors say SAD is a condition.

"And we know it exists. We tend to see it more in the northern areas like here," said Dr. Jeff Wirthlin.

Wirthlin says cloudy months in the northern latitudes are fertile grounds for SAD and recommends watching for symptoms.

"Craving carbohydrates, sleeping in, low energy, irritability," said Wirthlin.

Ineffectiveness at work or drop in grades at school can also be indicators. But there are some simple pick me ups, including Vitamin D.

"Get good exercise, good physical exercise, sunlight helps," Wirthlin said.

Special high lux lights can act as sun replacements.

"I just work under it on my computer and it's next to me and I can adjust here, how much light I get," said Stumm.

And monitor your own mood or have your friends and family help out.

"Some of my friends call me and say, 'Midge, you know, pull up your boot straps and get out of the house and lets do something,'" said Stumm.

Doctors say taking a trip or working on projects don't hurt either.

"And scheduling something enjoyable and fun to look forward to, can pull us through the winter months," Wirthlin said.

If the blues turn into something more serious, like thoughts of suicide or possibly marital problems, doctors say to seek medical help, which can be as easy as a call to your primary care physician.