By Camille Chatterjee, published on January 1, 2000 - last reviewed on January 23, 2015
People with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) aren't the only ones
who feel down come January. Scientific evidence now proves that most
people's moods dip when the weather turns chilly.
Morton Harmatz, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of
Massachusetts at Amherst, has found that most people are more depressed,
hostile, angry, irritable and anxious in winter than in summer. This
depression isn't as serious as that of SAD sufferers, says Harmatz.
Still, he says, his work "will help people understand why they have mood
shifts in winter." Harmatz believes that our seasonal slump may be due in
part to the lack of light in colder months. Light seems to function as a
natural antidepressant, though scientists aren't exactly sure how.
Accordingly, light therapy, a new treatment increasingly being prescribed
for clinical depression and jet lag, may be one useful solution for a
mild case of the blues. Says Harmatz: "Clinical research suggests that it