You’ve probably heard people talk about having the ‘winter blues’, or maybe when it rains day after day, you start to feel a bit down yourself.
For many people, winter feels like the time to just hunker down and get through and plan for the summer ahead. But for others, low mood, irritability and lethargy brought on by the start of winter, can be signs of a type of depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Although the specific cause of SAD isn’t known, a drop in your serotonin and a rise in your melatonin levels may play a part. Serotonin, often called the ‘feel good hormone’, helps stabilise your mood and lessen anxiety. In the winter months, when there isn’t much sunlight, your serotonin levels can drop. On the other hand, having more melatonin makes you feel sleepy and lethargic.
If you think you, or someone you know, is suffering from SAD, it’s important to seek help from a GP as soon as possible.