Digging for Data on Depression

Depression is the plague of modern times. Who knows if it even existed centuries ago. Did Freud invent it? It comes suddenly or in waves and seems to alter brain chemistry. There are so many pressures to succeed and the business is more competitive than ever before. We hear about all the dot.com billionaires and feel we are left behind. We also have too much information at our disposal and often don’t know what to do with it. We feel we must be up to date but the task seems overwhelming. There is precious little time for travel or leisure with all our financial obligations. We want to be special and excel at our endeavors, but real life gets in the way. Our children have emotional problems, we get divorced, we lose a job, there is a death in the family, we have to move, and we are disappointed with our lives. We want more money and it seems that the world is getting richer all the time. So why are we not content?

Anyone who suffers from depression wants to know the root cause to get well, and fortunately researchers are looking into the problem. I am compiling data for a doctor who is studying cases to see if there are areas in the country where depression rates are high. I notice pockets of unemployment that most certainly can be a cause and I see places where housing and food costs are on the rise. This would put pressure on any bread winner. There is another entire side of the depression issue that has to do with lack of sunlight. Statistics show that certain countries like Finland, Norway, and Sweden, for example, have greater incidence of the malady, not to mention Iceland and Greenland. The days are shorter much of the year which affects mood and energy levels. A condition known as SAD (seasonal affective disorder) explains above average suicide rates in these countries.

People with SAD need to be treated with light therapy to reduce winter depression. They sit in front of a special lamp for at least thirty minutes to an hour a day. Apart from counseling, it is said to improve mood, lower levels of fatigue, boost energy, and ameliorate poor concentration. This has been an interesting job. The data speaks loud and clear. A change in seasons lifts one’s mood. It pays to live in a sunny climate if you are prone to symptoms.

I am a sucker for a good scientific study and this one has piqued my interest. I had never thought about a correlation between depression and the amount of sunlight to which one is exposed daily. So many people report a lack of success with conventional therapy because they don’t understand this connection. If you have chronic depression, it pays to look into SAD: it could be the answer you have been seeking. Then, it would be a simple matter of buying a lamp or two.