Ask An Expert: Does Season Affect Mental Health

A life 2023

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Ask An Expert: Does Season Affect Mental Health
Ask An Expert: Does Season Affect Mental Health

Video: Ask An Expert: Does Season Affect Mental Health

Отличия серверных жестких дисков от десктопных
Video: Ask the Expert: Depression/Mental Health 2023, January
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ALEXANDER SAVINA

ANSWERS TO MOST OF THE QUESTIONS ARE EXCITING TO US we used to search online. In the new series of materials, we ask just such questions: burning, unexpected or common - to professionals in various fields.

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Since childhood, we are used to hearing about the "spring" and "autumn exacerbation" - the supposedly inevitable deterioration of the condition of those who face mental difficulties. It seems that in these phrases there is more stigma than truth, because in such a context, a person with a mental disorder is certainly presented as "dangerous to society." Nevertheless, the question of whether the season can affect us remains open: is autumn really a time of depression, or is it a myth? We found out from the experts.

Dmitry Frolov

psychiatrist, psychotherapist, co-founder of REBT Center, author of the book "Psychotherapy and what it is eaten with"

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The expression "spring flare" is not used in the medical literature: in it, perhaps, the influence of the season on mental disorders is exaggerated. Seasonality is just one of the many factors that affect well-being.

However, there is evidence of the seasonality of the disorder. For example, suicides are more common in the summer, possibly due to the heat. The manic phase of bipolar disorder occurs more often in the spring and summer, and mixed episodes of bipolar disorder occur in late summer and winter. Symptoms of schizophrenia are more common in the summer. Fall and winter can exacerbate anxiety and depression. Cognitive function in the elderly is better in late summer and early fall, but worse in late winter and early spring. Much depends on the country and the characteristics of the climate: humidity, temperature, altitude, as well as gender - there is evidence that seasonality affects women more.

The reasons for the seasonality are difficult to establish reliably. It is likely that the length of a sunny day, changes in diet, physical activity, excessively low or high temperatures affect the biochemical processes in the brain and the ability of people to cope with stress. Rather, it is important for the psychiatrist and his patient to keep in mind that any change in the seasons is a factor in the possible risk of deterioration.

Ilya Skvortsov

clinical psychologist, member of the Association for Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapy and the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science

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Many mental health professionals note that people seek help unevenly throughout the year. There are studies that confirm the connection between the weather and the psychological state of a person. There is even such a term - seasonal affective disorder, which manifests itself in the fact that a person's mood drops significantly in the autumn-winter period. Roughly speaking, this is the "autumn depression". There is evidence of seasonality in bipolar disorder: in the spring and summer, the likelihood of going into a manic or hypomanic phase is higher. There is evidence that people with schizophrenia feel worse during periods of short daylight hours.

However, now researchers cannot accurately name the reason for the effect of weather conditions on the psyche. A large study was conducted in Germany, in which more than 22 thousand people took part. It showed that on warm, cloudy days, the number of emergency psychiatric visits is significantly higher than on cooler days. But hypotheses about the reasons for this state of affairs are different. One of the most popular is the amount of sunlight that affects our biological (circadian) rhythms. Other studies show that temperature is a key factor, while others show that neither one nor the other is a direct cause of a change in psychological state.

If you notice that the psychological state fluctuates depending on the season, then be kind to yourself and think about preventive measures that will help you get through this period most comfortably.

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Alexandra Menshikova

clinical psychologist, candidate of psychological sciences

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In the 20th century, a separate syndrome was identified - seasonal affective disorder: in the fall and winter, depressive symptoms increase in a person, but in spring and summer they do not. Everything would be fine, but later they revealed the second type of seasonal affective disorder, when depressive symptoms appear, on the contrary, in the summer and spring.

Our moods change for a variety of physiological reasons, but the seasons themselves are less influential. All have a built-in "biological clock" that responds to the length of the day. If there is less light, some of the processes, including those that affect our mood, are disrupted. One study found that the body produces less serotonin (a hormone that helps regulate mood) during the winter months, and vice versa. Changes in the amount of light also affect how quickly we fall asleep, which in turn affects the production of melatonin. If there are disturbances here, then the production of stress hormones changes: studies have shown that in the winter, a person has much more cortisol in the body.

If a person has bipolar disorder, they should be careful - they too may be sensitive to changes in circadian rhythms. There is even a special therapy with social rhythms, it includes work not only with external factors (work, relationships, and so on), but also work on the constancy of the daily routine, the amount of sleep - instability here provokes mood instability.

What to do for people who develop depressive symptoms in autumn and winter? Firstly, they definitely need sunlight - it is recommended to go for walks in the morning and not curtain the windows. Second, exercise: even one workout can improve mood and reduce stress. Third, a balanced diet to maintain energy and mood. And, of course, a person needs support.

Anna Edge

Lecturer at the Department of Psychology, National Research University Higher School of Economics, psychotherapist, specialist in the field of autobiographical memory and gender identity, host of the telegram channel "from extreme to extreme"

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There are different points of view on this topic, and there is indeed a lot of stigma around it. In any case, it is not worth saying in a joking manner that there is a "spring exacerbation" or "autumn exacerbation".

If we take clinical indicators, then it is known that some mental illness can be associated with seasonality - but, of course, everything is individual. For example, we can say that the onset of a depressive state has a tendency to develop more and more often in autumn and winter. If, on the contrary, we are talking about prolonged depression, then the propensity to a depressive state can increase in the summer - perhaps it is understandable why: summer, everything is fine around, but I cannot be happy about it. If we talk about bipolar disorder, then it can also be cyclical: the stage of mania often falls in the spring, and the depressive episode in the fall. But all these are rather tendencies - it is definitely impossible to talk about this as a rule.

There are factors that worsen mental well-being, which are associated, for example, with a physiological state. In the spring, a person may become irritable, and sleep problems may appear. Or, conversely, spring can have a positive effect: daylight hours increase - and it becomes easier for a person to get up in the morning. Many people say that the sun affects their condition.

The atmosphere around also influences. Many stereotypes are associated with autumn (we see eternal suffering in it), as, for example, with February ("get ink and cry").These things contextually create the "legitimacy" of the experience - because it is accepted in society that there are more emotions in these times of the year. Like any social construct, it affects our psyche.

PHOTOS: Dzha - stock.adobe.com (1, 2)

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