Our autumnal mood

Our autumnal mood

The history of this discovery is fascinating. Who with the advent of autumn does not feel a certain nostalgia? Autumn marks the return to the routine, loss of freedom, the end of the meeting - a new and easy. Listopad seemed reminiscent of a bygone love. Cloaks and coats reported that ahead of rain and cold. Is it any wonder that the mood of the fall is unstable? Probably for this reason that we, psychiatrists, for decades refused to listen to the patients, when they talked about this sense of "hibernation" from autumn to spring. We considered these complaints as a manifestation of latent psychological problems or normal depression.

Meanwhile, other symptoms were similar to hibernating animals, patients are increasingly embraced a kind of lethargy, they slept longer than usual, it was harder to get up in the morning. Finally rising, they preferred to be left alone, to avoid any contact, even by telephone. Their plans and desires, so inspiring them a couple of months ago, they now seemed to be heavy duty, which should be rather "shove" to "live in peace". Their libido has disappeared, and they were attracted to sweet and starchy foods, as if trying to restock. And if we listen to them - rather than to impose them harvested in advance of the theory - we would have heard and that they were to frighten a dimly lit room and that they dream of the south and the light, to feel alive again. But we all studied at the medical faculty in the course of biology effects of the seasons on animals. Moreover, we knew that coming out of hibernation, a surge of energy, a frantic search for a partner or hyperactivity (in the device slots or the implementation of other "projects") are caused by a single thing - the increase in the amount of light that stimulates a small gland in the back of the brain and reduces the melatonin production. We all know that with the arrival of spring feel a burst of energy and desire.

Those symptoms of depression, which directly depend on the amount of daylight, can be facilitated.

But we could not imagine that we, the people, on a deeper level, our nature can depend on the amount of light in the same way as animals. That Norman Rosenthal, a psychiatrist who came to the US from South Africa, and colleagues from the National Institute of Mental Health (US) led the scientific community to recognize this obvious fact *. Seeing how much it affects the amount of light, he carried out an experiment to show that it is possible to ease the symptoms of "hibernation" with lamps that simulate the main components of natural light. The results were so convincing that even the most skeptical colleagues have been asking them to borrow lamps to experience them for yourself ... Studies show that about 30% of us feel significant fatigue between October and March, and the symptoms are so essential for the 10%, we can talk about depression. However, these findings did not spread in medical practice: lyuminoterapiya (light therapy) is still underutilized. Meanwhile, new research suggests that even normal - not related to the season - depression can be significantly reduced if the patient will be in the morning (during breakfast or reading the newspaper) to spend half an hour near a lamp **. Neglecting such a simple method of treatment, probably due to the fact that the light is not a patent, so we can not make a profit, urging doctors wider "prescribe" it to patients.

* N. Rosenthal, G. Pons. "Soif de lumiere. La luminotherapie: remede a la depression saisonniere ". Editions Jouvence, 2006. ** D. Kripke. "Light Treatment for Nonseasonal Depression: Speed, Efficacy and Combined Treatment". Journal of Affective Disorders, vol. 9 (2), 1998.