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Monsoon Depression Is Real And Can Feel Like A Heartbreak

Mumbai-based psychiatrist, Dr Sonal Anand explains the condition a bit better and how to watch out for it.

Anannya Chatterjee

 Not everybody likes the rain! Just so you know, monsoon blues are a real thing. Rains might put some people into a depressive state. Some prefer clear skies over cloudy and gloomy weather, as rains might lead to a drop in their serotonin levels and severe mood disorders. In medical terms, it is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a known entity that includes feelings of sadness with change in seasons around the same time every year and feeling normal in other seasons. It can lead to more seasons of depression than seasons without depression over a lifetime.

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Some of us do go through mood changes when trying to adapt to changes in the season because of an effect on the biological clock that controls daily functioning more so in times when it starts getting darker earlier. SAD is more common in people living far from the equator where there are fewer daylight hours in the winter. We got Dr Sonal Anand, psychiatrist, Wockhardt Hospitals, Mumbai to help us understand this condition better.

What is monsoon depression?

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During the monsoon our mood can be affected by the experiences we associate with it. Fear of thunderstorms, lightening is not uncommon. Dr Anand explains, “Past experiences of being stuck in waterlogged situations or being through stressors related to floods can cause anxiety when remembering about it during the rainy season leading to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some people have such experiences of childhood and can continue to have anxiety related to rains as adults leading to depression as well. Overcast skies can overshadow the sun and lead to vitamin D deficiency which can exacerbate depression.”

Grey skies, continuous rains can mean being limited to the house and being restricted socially as well which can lead to loneliness. “People with a family history or people with a history of depression in the past are more prone to depressive episodes,” says Dr Anand. 

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Monsoon depression symptoms

Depression means feeling sad or lack of energy in routines. It can lead to gloomy feelings sometimes of the day or throughout the day. It can make one feel irritable and make one lose their temper easily. It can cause sleep disturbances either insomnia or excessive sleep. It can also cause changes in appetite. Loss of appetite and weight are more common than increased appetite. Focus and concentration can become a problem leading to lowered productivity. Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness can take over thoughts related to self and lead to thoughts of self-harm.

Dealing with monsoon depression

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Treatment of depression depends on the severity. Dr Anand explains, “Mild depression or depression related to the current situation can sometimes be tackled with psychological therapies like CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) or REBT (Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy). Moderate to severe depression definitely requires medical management. Ruling out physical causes is also important. Sometimes undiagnosed thyroid problems, certain deficiencies or even some medications can also cause mood changes.” Lifestyle changes like fixing a time schedule for getting up early and sleeping on time are important. Having a good night’s sleep can have a good impact on your mood. Getting exposed to morning sunlight can also elevate the mood. Yoga, meditation have helped many people struggling with mood issues.

Photo: Shutterstock
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