Fayetteville, W.V. (WVNS) — Does this winter weather have you feeling down? If so, you’re not alone. You may be one of millions of Americans suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder.
“I’m tired of this snow… exhausted over it to be honest,” said Jose Hernandez, in Fayetteville.
“I’m ready to go swimming and have fun in the summertime. I’m tired of this,” said Hayley Rice, an Ansted resident.
“I guess it’s kind of sad in a way. You can’t get out and do anything,” said Hannah Steele of Fayetteville.
The more people you talk to, the more you’ll found this gloomy weather is bringing lots of folks down.
59 News spoke with Therapist Christa Haney at the New River Ranch to find out why winter weather has such a negative effect on people’s mental health. She said, it’s the result of Seasonal Affective disorder, which affects over 150 million Americans.
“Seasonal affective disorder is also known as S.A.D. and it affects about 50% of Americans and can last up to 40% of the year. It is a type of depression that is influenced by the weather or the winter months,” Haney explained.
Haney says Seasonal Affective Disorder causes people to feel more depressed, lonely and tired in the winter months. But if you’re feeling this way, it’s not your fault. It’s the result of your brain not getting enough of the chemicals produced by sunlight.
“The lack of access to light that comes from the shorter days, that makes a serotonin deficiency in the brain. And it’s influenced by the lack of vitamin D,” Haney said. “Serotonin is a hormone in the brain that causes you to feel euphoric and happy. And so when you don’t get that, you, in turn, feel depressed.”
To help combat Seasonal affective disorder, Haney recommends opening your windows or turning on extra lights inside your house. She also says that taking a short walk when the weather allows can be very helpful to your mental health.