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As winter finally sets in, days becoming shorter and sunlight scarce, our mood tends to swing towards passivity and a strange tendency to reduce the amount of activities we choose to undertake. Cold weather and daylight parting by the time it’s 5 PM seems to be taking a toll on some more than others and cutting down on our will to engage in hobbies and setting in a state that is strangely similar to hibernating. Whether we are talking about trouble getting up in the morning, or picking snoozing on weekends over going out, the phenomenon is real and has been declared a psychiatric condition from the depression family.
The disorder, fittingly called SAD – seasonal affective disorder – seemingly affects a large number of people. While 10 to 20 percent of the American population will say that they tend to feel tired or sad during the winter, 2 percent are medically diagnosed with this condition. Biologically, it seems to be linked with a chemical imbalance triggered by the diminishing rates of vitamin D intake that happens when sunlight is not as accessible as it would be during other seasons. Psychologically, it has been established that due to the cold weather and likelihood that you won’t be going out unless you have to, you might be accidentally subjecting yourself to isolation which in most cases might lead to depression.
A study on the seasonal affective disorder has found deep seated connections to the part of the world people live in, naturally detecting a slight increase of occurrence in northern regions where days tend to be shorter. Reports describe that 10 percent of the people living in Alaska or Northern European countries suffers from this condition. Furthermore, just like any other form of depression, seasonal affective disorder seems to also be passed on genetically. Generally, women seem to be more prone to becoming depressed during the cold winter months, summing up 80 percent of the cases worldwide.
Symptoms of the seasonal affective disorder range from fatigue, a tangible lack of focus, increased irritability, diminishing interest in social activities, lethargy, low libido and increased appetite. Doctors and psychologists take the seasonal affective disorder as seriously as any other form of depression, and while there is no medicated way to combat it, several recommendations have been made to help people afflicted keep up with their lives during the winter. These include taking as much advantage as possible of daylight, working out, not letting the season change your usual routine, eating right while reducing sugar intake, take trips when possible and succumb to as many winter activities as you can. Winter doesn’t last forever.