Science Says

Nothing to be SAD about?

Feeliong SAD? Try your local conservatory. Ours has a light show every winter.

Feeling SAD? Try your local conservatory. Ours has a light show every winter.

This holiday season, I’m searching for any good news, and this might qualify. Or at least it might save people some money. According to studies conducted by the Journal of Clinical Psychology and the Centers for Disease Control and Production, the condition known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) may not exist. The two organizations started their studies fully expecting to find evidence of SAD, but no signs of light-dependent increases appeared in their depression measures. They’ve concluded that previous methodologies that supported SAD (talk of SAD peaked in the 90s) must have been seriously flawed. Here’s an article from Scientific American summing up the research and a hat tip to my favorite Buffalo weatherman, Don Paul, for a local report that drew my attention.

I am sure many of you know  people who own “happy lights,” or  talk of being afflicted by SAD, especially in late winter. For gardeners, a typical zone 3–6 winter isn’t anything to jump for joy about; there’s really not much to do in the garden and not many perennials to enjoy. As I’ve already stated here many times, I’m not a big fan of “winter interest” in the outdoor garden. On the other hand, winter doesn’t bother me that much, and I’ve never diagnosed myself with SAD. I enjoy walks outside, bird feeding and watching, and indoor gardening, mainly with bulbs. There’s plenty to do inside; it’s even kind of a relief not to worry about outdoor garden chores for a few months. I don’t know why—maybe it’s the investigative journalist in me who never emerged—but I kind of enjoy it when things are debunked. Though I know my SAD-suffering friends probably won’t buy this.

(Let’s see what happens when I post this on Facebook. I think I’ll find quite a cadre of SAD defenders.)

Posted by on December 22, 2016 at 9:02 am, in the category Science Says.
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4 responses to “Nothing to be SAD about?”

  1. Beth Urie says:

    That’s funny!! Winter’s long in Vermont. Once outside (fashion be damned – many layers) there’s much to be amazed by … on snowshoes (or crampons :) )

  2. Laura Munoz says:

    I agree with Anne’s comment. There are dark days that weigh me down and seem to make me lethargic. Also, when I visit other homes where the rooms are dark, it has the same effect on me. For this reason, I hang only lightweight curtains and my home is filled with light.

    The article said, “A group of researchers realized they could use the CDC results independently to investigate how much depression changes by season.” Who funded these researchers to do this? Sometimes funding is tied to the results.

  3. anne says:

    There are definitely winter days when the darkness oppresses me and messes with my moods. I’m just not sure this is a diagnosable “condition”, as opposed to simply part of being a living organism on our planet. In any case, I always look forward to the solstice and the increased sunlight!

  4. […] Nothing to be SAD about? originally appeared on Garden Rant on December 22, 2016. […]