The Effects of Winter on Mental Health

by | Feb 6, 2023 | Mental Health

Has the colder season made you feel less like yourself? Does everything feel gloomier and difficult to manage? This may be due to the fact that the colder seasons can promote the onset of mental health issues such as seasonal depression, major depressive disorder, and anxiety disorder. Here are the effects of winter on mental health.

woman with depression looking out the window on a rainy day

It is said that, The reduced level of sunlight in fall and winter may cause winter-onset seasonal affective disorder (SAD). A drop in serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that affects mood, might play a role in SAD. The winter season is known for daylight saving, which is correlated with reduced sunlight, potentially causing a drop in serotonin that may trigger depression.

Those with major depressive disorder may experience a worsened version of their symptoms. The cold weather as well as the darkness in the winter seasons can cause people to avoid activities that were once fulfilling for them, such as exercising, seeing friends, outdoor activities, or any activity that would require one to leave their home. Staying indoors for prolonged periods can exacerbate existing depressive symptoms into suicidal ideation if left untreated for an extended amount of time. 

Vitamin D deficiency is a key contributing factor to the onset of seasonal depression and sometimes major depressive disorder. Without substantial sunlight, the lack of Vitamin D can greatly affect a person’s sleeping patterns as well as overall mood. With all that being said, it is crucial to actively utilize resources to mitigate the onset of seasonal depression and mood shifts during the winter season.

Related Blogs

Stress: Five Gifts and a Lagniappe

Stress: Five Gifts and a Lagniappe

You can Manage Holiday Stressors Successfully Hear the word holidays and the word stress often follows quickly in its wake. Examples abound. I observed these three quite recently: “I absolutely hate holidays—everything goes into fast forward. It’s so stressful!” The...