Researchers think that seasonal depression is an urban legend.
(Mirror Daily, United States) – Seasonal depression is an urban legend, or at least, this is what the researchers at the Montgomery Auburn University want to prove. They say that even though the disease is recognized by the members of the psychiatric community, the illness does not have a lot of a lot of objective data that can support its existence.
Steven LoBello, a professor at the Montgomery Auburn University and lead researcher of the SAD study says that he is not trying to deny the entire existence of the disorder, but rather explain that only a very small part of the depressed people considered to suffer from SAD are actually affected by the seasonal illness.
SAD, or seasonal affective disorder, is supposed to affect approximately 6 percent out of the total number of adult Americans. Also, one in five Americans show signs of SAD during the cold seasons. As its name suggests, the depression associated with the SAD is more common in the winter, people popularly call it winter depression.
The scientists think that SAD occurs because of the loss of daytime. People in the arctic region, for example, are much more susceptible to develop SAD because of the gloomy weather conditions. The most common symptoms are agitation, anxiety, overeating, sleep problems and even nausea.
In order to test if the seasonal depression is an urban legend or not, Steven LoBello and his team at the Montgomery Auburn University surveyed via telephone a number of 34000 US adult citizens. The questions that the participants answered were linked to the latitude of their home, the amount of time they spend outside, depression, the time of the year when the illness triggers itself and how long it usually lasts.
After completing the survey, Dr. LoBello and his team proceeded to analyze the data that they have gathered. The research did not show any real evidence of a link between depression and the seasonal change. And the cases where there was a link were rare and might actually be considered coincidences.
There are other researchers who link the seasonal depression with the winter holidays. They say that the lack of sunlight and the gloomy overall overcast are actually a secondary reason for the installation of winter depression. Holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and Valentine’s Day actually make a lot of people feel lonely because of all the commercials that stress out the importance of a perfect holiday.
Additional research is needed in order to prove that seasonal depression is an urban legend, but Dr. LoBello’s research certainly made the first step.
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