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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Why do I get depressed in the winter?

    I consider myself a fairly healthy/happy person and I love the outdoors, beach, being active, etc. During the winter my level of happiness drops drastically: I no longer feel motivated to do anything, I focus on the negatives and how grey it is outside. Is this normal?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1


    Elisha Lawry

    Organisational Psychologist, Psychologist

    I have a deep commitment to helping people achieve an effortless life balance. My focus is to bring positive transformation to clients suffering from Anxiety, … View Profile

    There is a lot of research around the notion of SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is a condition where we are reacting to the loss of light. It is found that in northern hemispheres where there are days that are very short.
    People are more likely to have depression because we need to get out and about for the endorphins to be moving through our body, and we also need the light. We need our Vitamin D, for example and people often feel that they are more isolated and that they are not able to do a lot of activities that they would normally do in winter as opposed to summer.

  • Darren Stops

    Counsellor, Educational and Developmental Psychologist, Psychologist, Psychotherapist

    For assistance with issues including: anxiety & depression, stress, coping & adjustment, personality & relationships sleep & health issues, separation, loss and trauma, post traumatic … View Profile

    Some good advice above. There are theories that SAD is caused by changes to serotonin levels and/or circadian rhythms due to a lack of sunlight.  Severity is linked to geographical location.  With SAD, there can be a multitude of depressive symptoms, there is often also overeating and weight gain.

    It is important that you quantify the severity of your symptoms, especially if they have recurred for at least two years in a row.  It is also important that you talk to your doctor to rule out other conditions that might cause similar symptoms (eg, hypothyroid).

    Treatments include bright light therapy, antidepressant medication, and/or evidence-based psychological therapy. 



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