The spread of mental disorders in northern Norway is lower than the average for Norway.
Even though we are meeting brighter times, the winter darkness is still above us. For many, January and February are the heaviest months of the year, with little daylight, cold weather and labeling energy.
For some of us it will be serious.
Winter depression, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is a known term both nationally and internationally.
While one in ten is affected by winter depression, there are twice as many people who suffer from dark-term illnesses.
But the experts argue about the depression that occurs especially in the winter months is facts or just a myth.
No more depressed in the north
Several studies from UiT Norway’s Arctic University violate the notion that darkness causes a depressed population.
In a recent doctoral dissertation, psychiatrists and PhD fellow May Trude Johnsen, psychiatrist and project manager Trond Bratlid and other employees investigated seasonal variations in daylight in the north had a bearing on the occurrence of sleep problems and mental disorders.
The conclusion was that the vast majority of the north managed the dark time surprisingly well.
Symptoms of winter depression
- Fatigue and increased sleep need. This can interfere with the daily rhythm and lead to various sleep problems.
- Lack of enthusiasm and energy. Less interest in jobs and activities.
- Increased appetite, especially after sweets. May cause weight gain.
- Small social activity. Do not want to meet people.
- Depressive thoughts and mood.
- General feeling of inadequacy.
(Source: National Competency Service for Sleep Disorders)
Sleep scientist’s best tips for winter fatigue
The study showed no particular seasonal variation on the occurrence of mental disorders. The spread of mental disorders in northern Norway was actually lower than the average for Norway.
Sleep problems, on the other hand, were more prevalent in winter than in summer.
Are you depressed or tired and tired? There is a test you can take, which can help you find the answer.
– Weather-related discomfort
– Darkness can be felt like a heavy time for many, but it’s not the same as being depressed. I mean winter depression is a myth and an upset concept. None of our surveys in northern Norway indicate a higher prevalence of depression among the population in the winter, “says Vidje Hansen, professor at UiT Norway’s Arctic University and psychiatrist and research director at the North Norwegian Psychiatric Research Center, to click. no.
The theory that lack of daylight should lead to depression in winter, was launched by American scientist Norman Rosenthal and his research group in 1984. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), or winter depression in Norwegian, has been well-known in the international research community and has since become a familiar term.
The questionnaire the American researchers made to map the variation in mood and behavior associated with the different seasons did not capture depression, according to Hansen.
– I think the form captures a more weather-related discomfort. The problems many people experience in the dark is sleep disorders and energy loss, not depression, says Hansen, who has worked in psychiatry in northern Norway since the 70’s.
5-10 percent struggling
Other studies, on the other hand, indicate that winter depression is a hard reality for many. According to figures from the National Competency Service for Sleep Diseases, 5-10 per cent of the population suffer from winter depression.
According to these numbers, as many as 400. 000 Norwegians struggle with winter depression, and up to 800. 000 may have so-called sub-sad, lighter symptoms of the same nature. However, these numbers are uncertain.
– Should be treated
The test can show depression rate
– That we humans respond to light and dark, I think is completely natural. Most people notice a certain difference in mood etc when the spring sun comes. It is the ones who have the most ailments in the winter that should be treated. This I think is natural to do, just as with many other mental disorders. To call winter depression a myth, I think is strange. But thinking that it is natural with mood swings during the darkness, I disagree with, says Bjørn Bjorvatn, professor at the University of Bergen and head of the National Soil Disease Companion Service (SOVno) for clicks. no.
Heavy thoughts and sweetness
Usually the symptoms are reported in autumn / early winter and pass when the spring announces their arrival.
Typical symptoms of so-called winter depression are tiredness, increased sleep need, lack of action and energy, increased appetite and a special urge for sweets, depressive thoughts and sense of meaninglessness, little social activity and a general feeling of inadequacy.
– Most of us struggle a bit in the dark, but they do not need to have a treatment-threatening depression for that reason. In a Norwegian survey, about 90 percent of the Norwegian population reported a difference in mood, sleep and alertness in winter compared to summer. This is considered normal in our part of the world, says Bjorvatn.
Should seek help
He points to nature is going to sleep when autumn and winter come and it is natural that we humans reflect some of this. But for some, it’s so dramatic and they need treatment for winter depression.
Therefore, little sleep gives obesity
– When should you seek professional help?
– When the plagues are so big that the whole way of life changes. About 5-10 percent seem to be so bothered that treatment should be considered. For some, these problems are so dominant that one sees life unbearable and meaningless, says Bjorvatn, emphasizing that the point is not to illicit the population, but to diagnose and further help those who need treatment.
1 out of 5 have sleep disorders
Although studies at UiT Norway’s Arctic University in Tromsø did not show seasonal variations of mental disorders among participants, they found that more people have sleep problems in the winter.
– To the extent that 20 percent of the population in northern Norway has recurring problems sleeping in the winter. It is the suction phase that is the problem. Many people do not get tired of the night, get up and wake up, sleep late and get too little sleep during the night, explains psychiatrist Vidje Hansen.
The hypothesis is that there is a lack of variation in light that leads to sleep disorders.
Daylight plays an important role in the regulation of sleep and daytime rhythm by inter alia interfering with the secretion of melatonin and serotonin in the brain.
When there is little daylight, the production of these substances can get in the mood and disturb sleep.
Therefore, junk food is postponed the next day
Go for a walk!
What can those who are just a little relaxed and tired themselves do to ease the winter months?
– Just this is not a research, but it may help go out while it is still desirable to experience the little daylight that is. Staying in activity and spending time is always beneficial to one’s own well-being, says Vidje Hansen.
Winter Darkness Advice
According to Norwegian Health Information, these tips help against winter depression: (link: http: // nhi. com / diseases / mental health / depression / winter depression-29704. html? page = 4)
- Search Light: Travel to the South and get sun. If you do not have this option, consider treatment with artificial daylight. Half an hour before the light bulb every day for two weeks may be enough for the whole winter. Remember to consult a doctor. The solarium has no effect.
- Light up the surroundings: Pull off the curtains and turn up the lights at work. Go out for a day out. Light up your home.
- Recharge your batteries: Prepare for the darkness by getting lots of light in summer and autumn. It can be preventative and make you much better equipped to meet the winter.
- Sleep well: Sleep and good daytime rhythm is important to your mental condition. Regular disturbances in your biological clock can quickly lead to poorer sleep and fatigue.
- Fight: It has been shown that exercise and exercise generally have a positive effect on depression.
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