Psychiatrists have known about seasonal affective disorder--a mood disorder in which otherwise healthy people experience depression during the winter or heightened anxiety during the summer--since the early 1980s. Treatment for the winter blues often involves light therapy, with the idea being that short, dark days are kind of depressing.
But a new study suggests that all mental major illnesses, including anxiety, eating disorders, schizophrenia, ADHD, bipolar, and OCD, might get worse during the winter. Researchers analyzed Google searches for information about mental health in the U.S. and Australia from 2006 to 2010. They found that, in both countries, all mental illness queries were consistently higher in winter than in summer.
During U.S. summers, searches for eating disorders and schizophrenia declined 37 percent; ADHD queries fell by 28 percent; and searches for suicide decreased 24 percent. Searches about anxiety showed the smallest seasonal change, declining by 7 percent during summer. The stats were similar in Australia, with the exception of anxiety, which dipped 15 percent during summers.
"We didn't expect to find similar winter peaks and summer troughs for queries involving every specific mental illness or problem we studied, however, the results consistently showed seasonal effects across all conditions--even after adjusting for media trends," says James Niels Rosenquist, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Of course, just because someone is searching for a mental illness doesn't mean he or she has that mental illness. It's also not clear whether the increase in searches for mental health information is related to social, environmental, or biological factors, says lead investigator John W. Ayers, a professor at San Diego State University. Ayers says the consistent seasonal impact suggests a potential for a universal mental health therapy, like the sunlight-derived Vitamin D.
The study appears in the May issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
A lot of people think of winter as being a time to survive rather than a time to live life to the full. I'm sure there are much more queries about all sorts of health issues in the winter and not just those relating to mental health. Personally, I don't find winter all that depressing but my happiest and most optimistic time of the year is always the spring.
Just like The Shining!
I would expect ALL searches to be higher in winter.
Because of people spending more time indoors with nothing to do but Google stuff.
^^^^^ Agreed. Studies like this prove nothing but common sense for us who have it.
Yeah it really is just common sense, winter is cold, people stay inside more, they use the internet more and they get depressed/any other mental illness because they can't go outside as often and it mentally drains a person. BAM. I should publish.
"But a new study suggests that all mental major illnesses, including anxiety, eating disorders, schizophrenia, ADHD, bipolar, and OCD, might get worse during the winter."
The above listed illnesses are caused by the subconscious mind. "Seasonal effective disorder" is also caused by the subconscious mind.
1. Are they related? Yes, because there roots are in the subconscious mind.
2. Does this mean that the subconscious mind is defective? No, the subconscious mind is operating exactly as it's suppose to operate.
3. Then what causes mental illness? Simply, the content of what has been recorded there.
4. How is that content recorded there? It is recorded there when the conscious mind is partially or totally incapacitated. During periods of unconsciousness and physical pain. The conscious mind is bypassed and all data from the senses are recorded in the subconscious mind. This data cannot be accessed by the conscious mind because no links to it have been created by your conscious mind.