Do Shorter Days Affect My Mental Health?
Your Doctor FriendsJanuary 30, 2024

Do Shorter Days Affect My Mental Health?

Do you feel like "hibernating" in the winter months? Does the loss of daylight affect your mood?

Regardless of whether you tough it out in the northern US in cold winter conditions, or you escape to warmer temperatures down south, none of us are immune to seasonal changes in the amount of daylight hours. The winter solstice comes for us all, whether you’re in Fargo or Fort Lauderdale.

Have you ever wondered if you had “seasonal affective disorder”? (As an aside, it's either genius, or a giant bummer that the acronym for this condition is “SAD”). 

Today's episode talks all about seasonal affective disorder! Who gets it? Why? How can we treat and/or prevent it?

Does staring into a light box actually work? Are medications helpful for SAD? What about behavioral therapy? What does the research show?

Bonus topic at the end, Jeremy dives into the recent rise in measles cases in the US, and gives some context as to why that trend may be occurring. We give a brief overview of measles, and clarify the "controversy" over the MMR vaccine (Andrew Wakefield, cough, cough...)

Resources for this episode include:

The National Institute of Health website for Seasonal Affective Disorder.

A 2007 article from Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience titled "The phase shift hypothesis for the circadian component of winter depression".

The American Family Physician article from 2012 titled "Seasonal Affective Disorder".

The Mayo Clinic website re: choosing a lightbox for SAD.

A link to the Rohan et al study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry comparing light therapy to cognitive behavioral therapy for treatment of SAD.

AND YOU CAN'T MISS this clip of the wonderful Meteorologist (Chicago's Very Own) Tom Skilling feeling overcome with emotion watching a total solar eclipse in 2017 :) Tom Skilling is so pure, we do not deserve him!

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