Why you are more susceptible to depression in the winter

Ever notice you feel down in the winter, but you’re not sure why? There seems to be a cloud over you as the months get colder. You’re less energetic, less motivated, and more prone to gloomy spells. You dismiss thoughts of depression, since your mood clears up as soon as the sunshine comes back. However, it’s very possible you could have seasonal affective disorder (aka SAD).

Seasonal affective disorder isn’t fully understood, but it’s a very real phenomenon. In any given year, about 5% of the U.S. population is likely to suffer from seasonal depression. Most of those who have seasonal depression are sensitive to light, or an absence of it. The lack of light during winter months can produce negative effects. Whether you have SAD can depend on a variety of factors, including genetics, brain chemicals, and of course, your location. The farther away you are from the equator, the more likely you are to have an issue.

Many scientists believe that it’s not only a lack of light that’s the problem, but also a lack of light at the right time. In fact, recent studies have shown that getting exposure to bright light in the morning can make a big difference for those suffering from seasonal affective disorder. This light therapy is typically tried before putting the patient on antidepressants.

If you’re in Utah and worried you might be experiencing depression, come into our clinic for a consultation. Symptoms like overeating, excessive sleepiness, and social anxiety can all be aspects of seasonal depression. It’s good to keep in mind that unexpected depression in Utah could also relate to high altitudes. New studies are revealing higher rates of depression in the mountainous west that are likely due to this key factor.

For more considerations, questions, and answers on depression, schedule your appointment today. Our clinicians are ready to listen and give you the best professional advice available.

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