Depression faces millions of people, yet still are not well understood. Therefore it carries a stigma which causes those facing this issue to overlook treatments or even hide it from their loved ones.
As the nights are drawing in, we have reached the time when Seasonal Affective Disorder starts to affect many people – it’s a type of (often mild) depression that is aligned with the time of year, probably to do with light levels. And this year, it has hit the news in a big way.
Leading the charge from the major newspapers, The Independent covered recent research by YouGov and The Weather Channel, claiming that 1 in 3 of UK adults suffer symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Women are 40% more likely than men to experience it, and for 8% of the population the symptoms are acute (for the rest of those who suffer, it is called subsyndromal SAD). And interestingly, even without experiencing the specific symptoms of SAD (for examples low self-esteem and anxiety), over half the UK population admits their mood in winter is worse than the summer.
These figures are double that of previous estimates, and add weight to the argument that the NHS and businesses should adopt strategies to deal with the impact of ‘winter blues’. With ill health costing the economy almost £14 billion a year, starting to deal with these issues is vital.
If you don’t realise there is such a thing as ‘winter blues’, you can’t know if you have it. And if even if you are diagnosed as suffering from SAD, the lack of information and understanding about the issue leads to many not seeking treatment. And treatment can be very simple – ranging from outdoor exercise, and supplements, to light therapy.