Researchers at Oregon State University in the US suggest that the number of season affective disorder (SAD) cases have been exaggerated and many people claim they suffer from the disorder simply because they dislike the cold.
SAD is a mood disorder in which people often suffer from depressive symptoms that are linked with seasonal changes, either in the summer or in the winter. In order to find out how common the disorder was, the researchers conducted a study among nearly 800 men and women from Oregon and Iowa who were between 14 and 36 years of age.
All of the participants were asked to take part in as many as 19 self-assessment mood surveys that were conducted in one year. The researchers found that while many people did report more depressive symptoms during winter, the data was not aligned with how people normally associate weather and mood.
Lead researcher David Kerr said that increased awareness of the disorder was one of the reasons why people are willing to believe they suffer from SAD when in reality they are just unhappy. "We may not have as much fun, we can feel cooped up, and we may be less active in the winter. But that's not the same as long-lasting sadness, hopelessness, and problems with appetite and sleep — real signs of a clinical depression", he said.