Rain, Rain, Go Away


| 6 Comments
There are few things that can effect your mood like waking up to a gloomy, rainy day.  Chances are you have a harder time getting out of bed, you feel more tired and want to do absolutely nothing at all.  Although the majority of people feel this way, there's is actually a disorder linked to it.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a depression that occurs in the late fall, early winter months.  During this time, less sunlight is available, which changes the body's natural routines because it has to adapt to more darkness.

-increased appetite/weight gain
-feelings of hopelessness
-unhappiness
-social withdrawal
-increased desire to sleep
-loss of interest in work and/or other activities

When your eyes are exposed to darkness, a small gland in the brain releases melatonin, which helps create the sleep cycles.  Gloomy days enhance this release of melatonin, causing you to become more tired than usual.

Although it sounds like everyone could have SAD, victims experience these symptoms on very extreme levels.  In fact, a doctor can diagnose you with SAD given the symptoms you have dealt with.  

stock-footage-sad-young-girl-looking-out-the-window-on-a-rainy-day.jpg

Essentially, the best things you can do for yourself is to enjoy the sunny days.  By spending a lot of time outside when the weather is nice, your body creates serotonin, which helps you feel more awake and in an overall better mood.  A few sunny days can balance out the rainy days because if your serotonin levels are high, it will basically "recharge" your brain and help you feel better.



6 Comments

Your blog post was very interesting and informative . While reading this prompted many questions that I wondered as well about the rain and mood. It also made the connection to smiling and the release of endorphins that make you think you're happy. So maybe when it rains you get "sad" because your body affiliates those type of experiences with sadness and gloomy feelings. For more infomation I would check out this website http://www.sacramentopsychology.com/index.php/articleslayout/75-depression/163-dark-rainy-days-may-affect-your-mood-.html it explains why this occurs. I personally love rainy days but maybe I am alone on that!

I have always noticed a small change in myself when the seasons at this time start to change. Until recently reading our class blogs, I had no idea there was a disorder for it! Do they treat SAD the same way as regular depression?? If so, when you go to the doctor for it, do they perscribe you medicine?? Or do they just make suggestions like you made about getting in the sun more to balance the brain's chemicals. Since I was curious, I decided to check it out. There are things that are called light boxes. Light boxes are designed to work are bright light therapy, or phototherapy. These boxes are helpful because they mimic the outdoor light, helping to rebalance the off chemicals in your brain that Kate described. This website, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/seasonal-affective-disorder-treatment/DN00013 , gives you all the details and suggests that you talk with your doctor about the best light box for year, since they all affect other people differently, but all have the same intention. To me that's pretty interesting and I would personally prefer a lightbox to some pills or medication.

I totally think that the change from warmer seasons to colder season affects our moods. In your article you listed the symptoms of SAD, one of them being increased appetite and weight gain. This almost resembles the idea of storing up for the winter, like hibernating. Like animals we tend to not want to go out as much and stay inside where there is warmth, shelter, and food. When the seasons change from summer to fall to winter it becomes increasingly more and more cold and people are less likely to go which causes almost depression like symptoms to occur, like the ones you mentioned before. In this article on seasonal affective disorder, the mayo clinic discusses the causes and effects of SAD. Although you cannot exactly cure SAD, the main way to treat SAD is light therapy, psychotherapy, and medications.

I come from a tropical country which has extremely hot summers and beautiful winters and three months of monsoon. Personally I loved the rain as it relieved us of the heat of summer and also because cold in nice warm temperature is good so I was surprised when there was a study which said that the weather affects our mood. I personally have some days when I am 'not-in-the-mood' and some days when i am ready to get stuff done. For me it usually depends on the sleep I get and how tired I am. I could not agree more that sunlight makes a difference especially in colder regions but thats because I hate the cold and I like the warmth. But if you compare the same phenomenon in a tropical country I believe people wouldn't be in the mood to do things for the fact that the sun is blazing upon them and its too hot to work. So i did some research and found this article http://healthyliving.msn.com/diseases/depression/does-weather-really-affect-our-mood-1 which basically states that weather actually does not really matter that much. It is more dependent on a person's desire to work. That actually makes sense and it is I believe it is a psychological thing same like the most cases of ADD.

The weather is definitely a big factor in determining my happiness for the day, week, or month. I have noticed that usually when it is gross, cold, and rainy out I am more down and move at a slower pace. However, when it is sunny out I am typically in a better more fun outgoing mood. Rainy days can be enjoyable on occasion, when you are in the mood to stay in and relax. I can easily see why and how people could develop this disorder.

When I wake up to a rainy/gloomy morning, I have to use all the strength in my body to get out of bed and make it class. Even though I'm not a fan of rain, it doesn't really affect my mood in terms of being happy or sad but I do tend to withdrawal socially and would prefer to stay in my room, do work, and eat. So I guess I do have symptoms of the Seasonal Affective Disorder. I actually know someone who suffers from the disorder tremendously. It affects her the most during the spring semester and causes her to perform a bit worse academically in the spring compared to the fall. It's sad, but it's definitely a real thing. I found an article that summarizes a study done by a group of European researchers. The study examined the impact of six different daily weather factors (temperature, wind, sunlight, rain, air pressure and length). The study was performed on more than 1,200 participants, most of them being women. The research concluded that people differ in their sensitivity to daily weather changes. Here's the link to the article:

http://healthyliving.msn.com/diseases/depression/does-weather-really-affect-our-mood-1

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