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The “winter blues” getting your down?

Have you ever noticed that people are a lot cheerier in the summer than they are in the winter? One of the reasons attributed to that is the decrease in sunlight that we get in the winter months. Some people are more vulnerable to the change in sunlight and are vulnerable to a type of depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This seasonal pattern begins in the autumn months as the days become shorter and can last until spring. It is estimated that two to three percent of the Canadian population suffers from this condition and a higher percentage suffer from a less serious version commonly known as the “winter blues.”

Who is at risk?

Women are twice as likely to suffer from SAD as men and as with most forms of depression, a familial history of it is common and increases the likelihood of being afflicted by “the blues”. It is also known that the latitude you live at plays a factor. The farther you live from the Earth’s equator, whether it be higher or lower latitudes, the greater the risk for developing SAD.

What are the possible symptoms of SAD?
• Low mood
• Fatigue, low energy
• Reduced interest in usual activities
• Decreased concentration
• Weight gain
• Increased appetite
• Increased sleep

Please see a health care professional or a naturopath if you feel that you may have seasonal affective disorder. Paint those winter blues away!


drake photography said...

can SAD affect people throughout the spring or summer?

Dr. Ian Koo, Naturopathic Doctor said...

Hi Drake,

By definition, seasonal affective disorder (SAD)affects those in the fall and winter months as the days grow shorter. If a person feels down during the summer months, then there are other diagnoses that must be ruled out with a thorough case taking.

Hope that helps.