Winter could see SAD epidemic for millions

Winter may bring SAD epidemic for millons

This winter could see a huge increase in cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) following this summer’s weather wash-out, warn mental health experts.

The summer is usually a recovery period for sufferers, but with many people reporting winter symptoms throughout the season, the effect of prolonged bad weather will make winter even more of a struggle than usual.

Around one in 20 people suffer from SAD-related bouts of depression, with a further one in eight more seriously affected by the winter blues.

Bright light, ideally sunlight, is the best treatment for the condition, but when summer doesn’t provide us with enough, the cumulative lack of good quality sunlight could have a devastating effect.

‘I’m sure this unpleasant summer may have an effect,’ warns Dr Natasha Bijlani, a mental health expert at the Priory in south west London. ‘Poor weather that’s associated with a lack of sunlight has an effect on some sufferer, so I think those already susceptible will be even more vulnerable this winter.’

And Eryl Price, communications manager at Outside In, a company that specialises in supplying light therapy lamps to SAD sufferers, says sales this summer have rocketed.

‘Our sales were three times as much as they normally would be for June and, by August, sales were four times as much as the same time last year, and equivalent to what we would expect in November.’

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