Do Seasons Affect Mental State?

Health Wire

It may be that seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is not the only mental disorder that is affected by seasonal change. Recent research shows that a number of mental disorders could be exacerbated by the change to winter. This finding is based on a study that looked at the number of Internet searches related to mental illness that occurred during different times of the year. Researchers found a spike in searches for information regarding major mental illnesses (including anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder, ADHD, anorexia, and depression) during the winter months. In particular, eating disorders (including anorexia and bulimia) and schizophrenia queries were among the more major mental illnesses that increased 37% more in the winter than in summer.

P.S. Spikes in seasonal mental health issues may have to do with fewer daylight hours; colder temperatures; and the prevalence of more major holidays (e.g., Christmas and New Year’s) that boost expectations and anxiety.