Climate/Weather and Mood/Mental Health Seasons Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Because it is produced in the dark, the hormone Melatonin, is thought to be secreted in larger numbers as the days grow longer and darker. This hormone, which is associated with sleep, may cause "symptoms of depression" ("Seasons Change). Seasonal Affective Disorder is actually a fairly common problem, affecting about 20% of the population, most of whom are women between the ages of 18 and 40. Symptoms of the disorder include "feelings of depression, misery, lethargy, insomnia, appetite problems, and a loss of sex drive" ("Seasons Change"). According to the May Clinic, many of the disorder's symptoms include depression-like characteristics, including "lethargy, fatigue and other problems (Seasonal Affective Disorder"). Indeed, the May Clinic calls Seasonal Affective Disorder a form of depression.

Although Seasonal Affective Disorder may be a potentially dangerous condition that leads to impaired cognitions, it is difficult to determine the exact nature of the ailment because many of the symptoms are those that are also experienced by a majority of the population each day. According to the Mayo Clinic, feelings of cabin fever and eating and sleeping more are typical reactions to the onset of winter ("Seasonal Affective Disorder"). This does not mean that one necessarily has Seasonal Affective Disorder or another type of depression. According to the APA Monitor, in fact, many who do not have the disorder experience symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder each winter. Even in those without Seasonal Affective Disorder, participants in a study were found to have increased amounts of "depression, anxiety, hostility, anger, and irritability in winter" more than in other seasons (Waters). Although many experience mood changes during the winter months, this does not mean that they necessarily have Seasonal Affective Disorder. However, anyone who believes they are experiencing symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder should contact a professional immediately, because the depression could lead to serious consequences for one's self and others.

Thus, while a person's mood can be changed by many factors, those factors can be separated into the categories of not-so-serious and serious problems. Not so serious reasons for mood changes include hearing bad news, being witness to a tragic event, or undergoing a normal, short-term period of hormone imbalance, such as puberty, PMS, or pregnancy. More serious reasons for mood changes include changes associated with mood disorders and other conditions, such as ADHD. This can become rather tricky for diagnosis, however, because many mood responses to seasonal changes can fall into the category of not-so-serious mood changes. Indeed, the May Clinic reports that it is normal to "develop cabin fever during the inter-months," in addition to "eating more" and "sleeping more," during this time period ("Seasonal Affective Disorder"). For this reason, many of those who experience mood changes based on weather and climate are not sure whether or not their issue is a problem or whether it is simply a normal, environmental trigger of a mental disorder. Instead, readers should understand that the study of mood change during the seasons is rather necessary, as it is important to inform others that what they are experiencing could be normal, or it could be a mood disorder. Further information should also be used to make others aware of the differences between these two conditions.

Works Cited

Kronefield. James. "What Cuases Mood Changes?" Article Alley. 7 March 2007. 29

November 2008. http://www.articlealley.com/article_135827_17.html

Samhsa's National Mental Health Information Center. "Mood Disorders." nd. 29

November 2008. http://mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/publications/allpubs/ken98-0049/default.asp

Seasonal Affective Disorder." The Mayo Clinic. 24 September 2007. 29 November http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/seasonal-affective-disorder/DS00195

Seasons change mod and attractiveness." Science News. June 2006. 29 November 2008. http://www.sciencenews.net.au/seasons-change-mood-and-attractiveness/

Waters, M. "Change of Seasons, changes in mood." APA Monitor. 9 October 1999. 29

November 2008.

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Kronefield. James. "What Cuases Mood Changes?" Article Alley. 7 March 2007. 29

November 2008. http://www.articlealley.com/article_135827_17.html

Samhsa's National Mental Health Information Center. "Mood Disorders." nd. 29

November 2008. http://mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/publications/allpubs/ken98-0049/default.asp

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