James F. Balch, MD says, "Some people become
more depressed in the winter months, when the days are shorter
and darker. This type of disorder is known as a seasonal affective
disorder (SAD). Women are more likely to suffer from SAD than
men. People who suffer this type of depression in the winter months
lose their energy, suffer anxiety attacks, gain weight as a result
of craving the wrong foods, sleep too much and have a reduced
sex drive. Many people get depressed around the December holidays;
while most of them probably just have the "holiday blues",
some of them may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder."
The stresses of holiday shopping, preparation of meals, family
activities or the loneliness of families living so far away creates
a crescendo of emotions this time of the year.
"Some researchers believe that depression can
be "caught" like a cold or the flu. In his book Contagious
Emotions: Staying Well When Your Loved One Is Depressed (pocket
books, 1993). Dr. Ronald M. Podell says that in a marriage if
one partner is chronically depressed, both probably will be. Researchers
have found that some people are more powerful mood transmitters
and other are mood receivers. Mood transmitter can control the
mood of a family or a group of coworkers just by being in the
room. Mood receivers are very susceptible to the changing moods
of those around them. This subconscious interaction is most dangerous
when the mood transmitter is exhibiting depression through constant
moodiness, anger, anxiety or sadness; he or she can "give"
a case of depression to others."
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