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New Study Finds That Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Might Just Be a Myth

As winter continues to trudge by the gloomy days become far too common; making it very difficult to like this weather.

In fact, for years this crummy weather and lack of sunshine have often been held accountable for making people feel really bummed out. This is known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a mood disorder that is related to the change in weather from fall through winter.

But a new study written in Clinical Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Sciencehas come out and is questioning the viability of SAD.

According to scientists from Auburn University, the condition that sees people become depressed due to a lack of sunshine (and vitamin D) in winter months is more likely a myth than fact.

Researchers examined 34,000 people, aged 18 to 99, who were required to answer survey questions about their behavioural health. Among the questions, participants were asked how many days in the previous two weeks they had experienced certain symptoms of depression.

The researchers running the study, Steven LoBello, Ph.D., Megan Traffanstedt, and Sheila Mehta, Ph.D., also studied geographical information for each participant, as well as the amount of sunlight exposure for the days the participant reported feeling depressed (if they reported it at all).

The study found that levels of depressive symptoms do not change from season to season or in different levels of light. People who responded to the survey in the winter months, or at times of lower sunlight exposure, did not have noticeably higher levels of depressive symptoms than those who responded to the survey at other times.

The researchers concluded that the findings are “inconsistent with the notion of seasonal depression as a commonly occurring disorder.”

Now we’re sure that many people will read this and get upset; we get it, the gloomy weather makes us all feel kinda bummed out.

But feeling bummed out about the weather is not the same as being depressed during the winter: “being depressed during winter is not evidence that one is depressed because of winter,” the researchers wrote.

The researchers aren’t overlooking people who experience depression in the winter months, they’re just concluding that this study couldn’t find evidence of a link between sunlight availability (a lack of which is believed to influence SAD) and major depression.

Currently, it’s recommended that if you’re experiencing a less peppy mood as you cope with the long winter months that light boxes are a great help, as well as getting outside to experience as much sunlight as you possibly can each day.

Otherwise, we recommend booking a trip somewhere warm for some much needed Vitamin D.

May we suggest here.


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