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06/06/2012 01:13 PM

Dark, Rainy Days May Affect Your Mood

PhilPhil46
PhilPhil46  
Posts: 11417
Group Leader
I'm an Advocate

by Dr. Debra Moore

Many of us are eager for the sun. It seems to lift our spirits, give us energy and make us feel more like getting out and doing things. Rainy, dark days seem depressing. We feel like hibernating, some of us feel like eating more, and some folks sleep more.

But for most of us, these feelings are mild. We manage to continue our daily tasks. Even if we feel like crawling back under the covers, we don't. And if we charted our moods, researchers tell us they wouldn't fluctuate all that much depending on the weather.

But for about about 4 to 6 percent of Americans, a seasonal pattern of mood changes has a dramatic effect on their lives. Called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, reports of this disorder have appeared in the psychiatric literature for decades.

And estimates suggest that 25 percent of American women may suffer from winter blues, a milder form of SAD.

You may have SAD if you have extended periods of depression during the winter months of several different years and yet no depressive episodes during the summer. Depression associated with SAD is marked by physical symptoms as well as the feeling of depression. These symptoms include fatigue, increased sleeping, increased appetite, and social withdrawal.

The symptoms tend to occur through the months of November until March. The extent of impairment at home and work are basically what separates SAD from the milder winter blues.

Women with SAD or the winter blues report they switch from healthier eating patterns in the summer months to increased, and unhealthier eating during the winter. They may routinely gain about ten pounds. They may experience food cravings, especially for chocolate, sweets, breads, potatoes, and other carbohydrates.

In severe cases of SAD, it can feel as though three to five months a year are lost to fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and depression. Sleeping may increase from seven to eight hours each night in the summer to ten, twelve, or even more hours in the winter. And it can still be hard to get out of bed in the morning.

In fact, it's a vicious cycle. Sleeping more causes even less exposure to daylight and sunshine, and the symptoms become worse.

The exact mechanisms by which SAD is caused are unclear. Scientists think the shorter, darker days not only affect our body's internal clock, but also actually affect chemicals and hormones in our brains. Some people, especially women, seem extra vulnerable.

For sufferers, several treatments are options. Self help may be enough for the milder winter blues. Consistent exercise, a healthy diet, avoiding oversleeping, and managing stress can go a long way. For more severe cases, antidepressants, cognitive psychotherapy and treatment with bright lights may all help.

http://www.psychpages.com/index.php/articleslayout/75- depression/163-dark-rainy-days-may-affect-your-mood-.html

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06/06/2012 07:27 PM
slada
slada  
Posts: 2417
Senior Member

I love you Phil a lot,you just know what to post every timeSmile)......I am one of the person who is affected every time is cloudy and rainySad(

06/07/2012 07:12 AM
PhilPhil46
PhilPhil46  
Posts: 11417
Group Leader
I'm an Advocate

Slada,

that is why we must learn to do whatever we can during those days, to brighten them up and make ourselves feel better. Weather does affect us in so many ways. I put on more lights at home and open the blinds so it's not so dark and grim. I play uplifting music or watch a funny movie during those days.


06/07/2012 02:09 PM
Rflattsfan78
Rflattsfan78  
Posts: 607
Member

Slada, I'm affected too when it's cloudy/rainy. My mood shifts so much! As soon as the sun comes out, it's like my body flips a switch. My therapist said something about a "sun light" you can buy. It supposed to illuminate like the sun when you plug it in. I'm thinking about getting it.

06/07/2012 11:31 PM
frog44
Posts: 2370
Senior Member

Rflattsfan, I need one of those! Tell me where to find one! I am super depressed when the sun is not out!!

06/07/2012 11:35 PM
mem6526

Froggy, They have them on Amazon! Smile

06/07/2012 11:38 PM
frog44
Posts: 2370
Senior Member

I will have to look it up. I could just soak up the sun all day if I wouldn't get sunburned..LOL!

Post edited by: frog44, at: 06/07/2012 11:38 PM


06/07/2012 11:39 PM
mem6526

I will send you a link if you want or I will post a few for you tomorrow. Smile

06/07/2012 11:41 PM
frog44
Posts: 2370
Senior Member

Sounds good Smile
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