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Harvard Health Blog
Feeling S.A.D.? Lighten up if it’s seasonal affective disorder
- By Ann MacDonald, Contributor
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I worked as a ski patroller for many years and was outside all days and in all weather. I retired a few years ago and basically became a poster child for SAD depression, weight gain, etc In the summer when I am outside all day the symptoms go away.
Tried a light box, but it didn’t do much good. My best cure has been a puppy. Puppy needs to get walked every day, regardless of how I feel. Of course a dog lifts your spirits just by being a dog, but for me part of it is getting out of doors and into the fresh air every day without fail.
I think there is some truth to this. Summer always seem happier and you wear colorful dresses. But during winter I tend to wear browns and blacks and wish spring would hurry along!
Is there a reverse? I love the Summer months and can’t wait till they get here. I know many people that are the reverse – can’t wait to see the snow and go skiing. Me – if I never went outside in the Winter I would be happy. I live in upstate NY so we can get some pretty brutal winters.
The snow makes everyone happy. As long as you have warm clothes lol. I like the blog.
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Exercise also helps. Living on the West Coast for years and then moving to the Northeast again brought on my SAD during the winter. The cold weather makes is difficult to really enjoy being out in the sun.
Good point! Regular physical activity helps boost mood and is often recommended for people with mild to moderate depression (including SAD). And there are physical benefits as well! Thanks for writing.
Does SAD varies from country to country. For example in a country spring is responsible for SAD and in another winter is responsible?
Interesting question! An article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, and posted on the Society for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms website, reports that SAD is more common in people living in the northern latitudes, such as the United States, Canada, and countries in the northern part of Europe. And while most people who develop SAD do so in the winter months, some also have a “summer” version that is not well understood. You can read more in the JAMA article. Thanks for writing.
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