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According to ScienceAlert (This article and its images were originally posted on ScienceAlert January 12, 2019 at 09:14PM.)
You’re not alone if colder weather and longer nights make you feel down. This well-known phenomenon, called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), might explain why people feel low, irritable, and lethargic in the winter months. For some, the condition can be serious and debilitating.
Although SAD is a recognised form of clinical depression, experts are still divided on what causes the condition, with some even arguing it doesn’t exist. But my own research has found that your eye colour might actually be one factor determining whether or not you develop SAD.
A survey I conducted in 2014 found that around 8 percent of UK people self-reported changes with the seasons that can be classified as SAD.
Another 21 percent reported symptoms of sub-syndromal SAD, which is a less severe form, often called the “winter blues”.
Though many people might suspect they have SAD, the condition is usually diagnosed using the seasonal pattern assessment questionnaire. This asks people to answer a number of questions about seasonal behaviour, mood and habit changes.
The higher people score on the questionnaire, the more serious their SAD is. However, these diagnostic tools may vary between organisations, which can sometimes lead to inconsistent diagnoses.
But what actually causes SAD is still debated. Some theories, like the latitude hypothesis, suggest SAD is triggered by decreased exposure to sunlight during the winter.
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