Recently, Dr Rosemary Leonard appeared on BBC breakfast, describing the effect of the unseasonal bad weather is having on the mood of the nation and the increased number of SAD cases she has encountered as a result.
SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a type of winter depression that affects an estimated 7% of the UK population every winter between September and April, in particular during December, January and February. However, due to the extended poor weather, GP’s have noticed a prevalence of the condition well into May, and with the weather not set to improve until mid-April, this is a growing problem.
Dr David Edwards, a GP from Oxfordshire comments: "After an initial burst of sunshine in March people were lulled into a false sense of security that summer was just around the corner. However, due to the unseasonably poor weather in April and May people who already have a major problem with depression have been having relapses, and patients at the other end of the spectrum have been attending GP surgeries reporting what medics call TATT or Tired All The Time."
SAD is primarily caused by a biochemical imbalance in the hypothalamus due to the shortening of daylight hours and the lack of sunlight in winter.
For many people SAD is a seriously disabling illness, preventing them from functioning normally without continuous medical treatment. For others, it is a mild but debilitating condition causing discomfort but not severe suffering.