Loading articles...

The science behind SAD on this Blue Monday

(iStock image)

Many people report feeling depressed or sad around this time of year

If you feel like you may have symptoms of SAD, you're encouraged to see a doctor

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – If you’ve been feeling a little down or depressed lately, you’re probably not alone. Today marks, what is supposed to be, the saddest day of the year known as Blue Monday.

The science behind Seasonal Affective Disorder may have been altered over this past winter which may explain why you may not feel it as much as in years past. All the cold weather we’ve had on the Lower Mainland actually meant more sunlight. “The fact that we have had a sunnier winter than usual does make a difference,” explains clinical psychologist Dr. Joti Samra.

While the day itself isn’t scientifically significant, she adds, the disorder is. “About 10 per cent of the population is particularly sensitive to the reduced sunlight that we have in the winter months and can get themselves into experiencing a clinical depression.”

Samra explains there are “very real” physiological changes that can take place from less sunlight. “Less sun leads to disruptions in our circadian rhythm, we get less serotonin, we get disruptions in melatonin and that’s why mood can be impacted.”

If you or someone you know has felt a change in your mood, it may be a good idea to visit your family doctor. “If they notice there’s a real seasonal component to their depression to go talk to a doctor about this. Light therapy and other behavioural treatments can be highly effective.”

She adds January and February are two of the worst months for SAD.