Seasonal Affective Disorder Might Not Be A Real Thing, Some Researchers Say


Image: Adam/Flickr
Image: Adam/Flickr
Last year, around early November, Megan Phillips couldn’t get out of bed or wash her dishes. It felt like she couldn’t do anything constructive. The 32-year-old Vancouverite had never been this sluggish, and a heavy depression began to settle in.

By David Silverberg | MOTHERBOARD

“When I felt that weather change,” she said in an interview, “I felt a palpable shift in my mental health.”

Phillips said she suffers from seasonal affective disorder, commonly known as SAD. SAD sufferers report experiencing temporary depression beginning in the fall and lasting through winter. It’s long been believed to be a malady triggered by lower levels of sunlight, with symptoms that range from excessive sleeping to irritation and loss of appetite. The condition may affect as many as six percent of Americans, numbers that are presumably about the same in Canada.

“It’s a very broadly held cultural belief that the seasons and moods are correlated“

But numerous studies have emerged to counter the claim that the changing seasons or weather patterns have anything to do with people feeling more depressed during winter months. While depression is all too real for those who suffer from it, some researchers say the debate still isn’t closed on whether SAD itself is an actual thing.

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