How to Fight Winter Related Depression PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Niru Prasad   
HOW TO FIGHT WINTER RELATED DEPRESSION
BY

Niru Prasad, M.D., F.A.A.P., F.A.C.E.P.
Department of Emergency Medicine

West Bloomfield Center

Henry Ford Hospital, Michigan
Department of Ambulatory Pediatrics

St. Joseph Mercy Hospital

Pontiac, Michigan

How To Fight Winter Related Depressions?

There is a strong link between dark moods, lethargy, excessive weight 

gain and depressions related to change of seasons especially during the 

late autumn and winter.
The  scientists  and  researchers  in  the  past  have  done  many 

experiments in cooperation with psychiatrists to prove the facts that:
a.	Millions of Americans are affected during autumn and winter with 

	depressions also known as seasonal effective disorder.
b.	The autumn and winter brings depression, lethargy and craving for 

	sweets, women more than men making, them more vulnerable to gain 

	excessive weight further contributing to depressions.
c.	An increased exposure to bright light in humans can cure these 

	individuals by suppressing the production of dark related 

	hormones called Melatonin which contributes to depression.
d.	The fear of darkness, loneliness, bad weather outside due to 

	winter  storms,  makes  the  elderly  very  vulnerable  to 

	depressions.
e.	The seasonal affective disorder can affect people at any age 

	however, generally it begins around 20, more common in women, and  

	in  individuals  with  genetic  predispositions   to depressions.
f.	This is a transient phase of depression and has the best 

	prognosis due to the fact that mood starts getting better during 

	spring and summer.
The  strong  suggestions  and  recommendations  from  the  major 

scientists, psychiatrists who have done many research on seasonal 

affective disorders are:
1.	Light up your life.
	Try to get as much light as possible during winter.  Make your house 

	bright by removing drapes.  Paint walls with lighter colors trim the 

	bushes in front of windows and use strong bulbs to light up your rooms.
2.	Since women spend more time in kitchen than men, make  sure kitchen 

	is bright with enough sunlight.  The ceiling mercury lighting 

	fixtures contribute to bright kitchen and should be preferred as 

	the method of lighting kitchen if possible
3.   Exercise outdoors.
You can reduce winter depressions by participating in outdoor winter 

sports activity.  Even an hour of morning or noon walking or jogging, 

wearing proper clothes on a daily basis can reduce your depression.
4.	Eat a well balanced diet.
Eating a well balanced diet with extra added carbohydrates as snack in 

form of sweets can improve your mood when you are depressed. The sweet 

snack should not be mixed with your major protein rich meals.  The 

carbohydrates change the brain chemistry by releasing chemical 

serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for mood lifting. The 

premenopausal women with seasonal affective disorders also  have  low  

level  of  another  neurotransmitter  dopamine, contributing to their 

depressions.
5.   Get professional help.
Since major or minor depressions might also be due to organic causes 

such as thyroid disorders, get complete physical check up. The 

psychiatrists are using special lighting fixtures four times brighter 

than household lighting under which the patient sits for a minimum of 2 

to 4 hours every day to cure the depression.
6.	Think positive.
Be cheerful and think positive.  Sometimes going out to shopping malls 

and looking at spring and summer clothes cheer up the mood. Remember, 

of all kinds of depressions, this is the most benign type and is 

treated easily.  For most people, it will pass by spring and can be 

treated successfully.   For those who suffer from seasonal affective 

disorders there is reward of exceptionally good summer

Remember:
April showers bring May flowers

Winter blasts bring spring joys.

Laughter is the best medicine to improve your mood when you are sad 

because:

1.	The heart and lungs are stimulated when you laugh.
2.	The amount of oxygen in the blood is increased because of deeper 

	breathing.
3.	The heart beats faster and blood pressure temporarily rises.
4.	With laughing there is exercise of muscles of face, chest and 

	abdomen.
5.	Following a good laughter, there is a slight drop of pulse and 

	blood pressure, with relaxation of skeletal muscle producing a 

	feeling of well being and relaxation which lasts about 45 minutes.
6.	During laughing there are calories burned, approximately 80 times 

	more than during resting phase.