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Chilling connection between depression and cold

 Yes, it is true. Cold weather and depression often go hand in hand, creating a complex interplay that can affect our mental well-being [Courtesy, Freepik]

As the temperature drops and cold blankets the country in its chilly grip, many of us find ourselves longing for warmth and sunshine.

But did you know that the arrival of cold weather is not only associated with cosy evenings by the heater or fireplace but also with an increase in cases of depression?

Yes, it is true. Cold weather and depression often go hand in hand, creating a complex interplay that can affect our mental well-being.

But first, it is essential to understand that cold weather alone does not cause depression.

Depression is a multifaceted mental health condition with various contributing factors including genetics, life events, and brain chemistry. However, studies have shown that there is a correlation between the cold and an increased risk of experiencing depressive symptoms.

One factor that plays a significant role in this relationship is the reduction in sunlight exposure during colder months. This decrease can disrupt our circadian rhythm, the body’s internal clock, leading to changes in our mood and energy levels.

In some individuals, this disruption can trigger or exacerbate depressive symptoms, a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

SAD is a specific type of depression that typically occurs during the cold months when sunlight is scarce. Symptoms of SAD include persistent sadness, lethargy, increased sleep, difficulty concentrating and changes in appetite.

While the exact cause of SAD is still not fully understood, it is believed to be linked to a combination of factors including reduced serotonin levels, which is a neurotransmitter that affects mood, disrupted melatonin production - a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles, and the body’s response to light exposure.

But it is not just the lack of sunlight that contributes to depression. The challenge of braving the cold outdoors coupled with the desire to stay indoors where it is warm and cosy, can lead to feelings of isolation and a decrease in social interaction.

These factors, combined with the general gloominess associated with cold weather can contribute to a sense of loneliness and sadness. Fortunately, there are several ways to help combat the impact of cold weather on mental health. Engaging in regular physical activity, even indoors, is one of them.


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