How do seasonal changes affect our mood?

How do seasonal changes affect our mood?

The brightness and the weather conditions seem to have a great influence on our mood.

Already in the Greek era, Hippocrates referred to the importance of seasonal changes in the development of certain diseases, as well as to the physical changes caused by cold or heat.

There are seasons during which some mental illnesses worsen or show mild symptoms such as low morale, which increases fatigue and disrupts sleep and the ability to concentrate.

If these symptoms are very pronounced, perhaps the individual experiences a seasonal affective disorder. This disorder usually occurs in autumn and winter, and disappears when the good weather is back and the days are longer.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

About 6% of people develop the Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and especially adults, although sometimes some children may also be affected.

Generally, women are more prone to this disorder than men. However, sex is not the only factor. Indeed, because of biology, family history, living environment and personal experiences, some people may be more predisposed to developing this disorder.

The TAS is a form of depression. According to the latest studies conducted on the subject, it develops due to the lack of exposure to sunlight in the autumn and winter months, as well as changes in the functioning of neurotransmitters and hormones.

It is characterized by the presence in the individual of mood changes Depression-specific, such as asthenia, hopelessness, irritability, sadness, anxiety, anhedonia, low libido, etc.

It also has a predominance of vegetative symptoms such as hypersomnia, weight gain coupled with greater appetite, physical fatigue and hypersensitivity to interpersonal rejection.

Why do we feel this disorder?

There are many theories as to why these mood changes occur in season-sensitive individuals.

However, most studies are all on one point: these changes can be triggered by the brain's response to decreased brightness, and related to melatonin and the serotonin, hormones that play a key role in regulating sleep / wake cycles, energy and mood.

The melatonin is a hormone that is naturally secreted to regulate sleep / wake cycles. Melatonin secretion intensifies in the evening, staying at high levels most of the night and decreasing as the sun rises.

On the other hand, the operation of the serotonin is contrary: its levels increase when the person is exposed to sunlight. On the other hand, they suffer a great decrease in summer, which is accompanied by symptoms such as sadness and irritability.

This is why when the brightness decreases, which usually happens in autumn and winter, may appear hormonal imbalances that will affect our mood.

So, when days are shorter in autumn and winter and longer hours of darkness, an increase in melatonin levels and a decrease in serotonin may occur.

This sometimes gives rise to biological conditions conducive to low morale, in addition to the individual's family history, context, personal circumstances and experiences.

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