NPR had an interesting piece on 1-22-14 by their science correspondent, Shankar Vandantam), who seems to take a particular interest in mental health matters (he has written a book, The Hidden Brain: How our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars and Save Our Lives). The article discusses whether there is actually “empirical evidence for wintertime depression, widely believed to be ubiquitous.” Interestingly, he finds that the research form several countries actually finds that, “Study after study after study seems to show that people are not more depressed in the winter. If anything, they are less depressed in the winter.” They are clearly more depressed in the spring and summer!
The host, understandably, wondered where the persistent idea that it is common for people to be depressed in the winter comes from. Shankar theorizes, “It originated in psychoanalysis and has then been amplified by journalists,” and, “we’ve bombarded people with the idea that they’re supposed to feel miserable over the holidays. Now, the holidays can be stressful. We have high expectations. We are juggling family. There are a lot of presents we have to buy. And people might be interpreting that stress as depression when it actually isn’t clinical depression.”
The complete article is at: