In this article, we will be exploring, “ rain and depression”, signs and symptoms of depression, types of depression, reason behind depression during rain and strategies of overcoming it and will be addressing some FAQs.
Rain and Depression are related because:
- Receive low sunlight
- Low sense of worth and motivation
- Staying indoors and no social interaction
- Disrupts internal biological rhythm
- Dull and dark weather outside
- Lack of sunlight and vitamin D
It is a mood disorder that is often called Unipolar Depression or Major Depressive Disorder. It is one of the most common and prevalent mental disorders. Depression if remains untreated gets worse and takes a toll on one’s life in some cases.
The three main symptoms of an individual battling with Depression are:
- Anhedonia: Loss of interest in all pleasurable activities.
- Fatigability: low energy and get tired easily.
- Depressed mood: low mood and depressed mood for a prolonged time.
Some of the symptoms experienced by people suffering from depression are:
- Aggressiveness and Irritability
- Hopeless feeling
- Loss of Interest, Anhedonia
- Get tired easily, fatigability
- Lack of sexual desire
- Recurrent thoughts on suicide
- Difficulty in communication and interaction
- Disruption in the sleepy cycle: Insomnia and Hypersomnia
- Inability to concentrate
- Pain and Headache
- Change in appetite
- Excessive and Inappropriate guilt
- Diminished ability to concentrate
- Psychomotor agitation
- Significant weight loss
- Impairment in social and other major functioning.
Classification of Depression
Based on the severity of the symptoms and their duration, two major types of depression are Major Depressive Disorder or Clinical Depression and Chronic Depressive Disorder/ Dysthymia. Apart from these, there are Bi-Polar Disorder and Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Major Depressive Disorder
To be diagnosed with MDD, there should be five depressive symptoms that last for at least 2 weeks. Adding onto that, there should either be a depressed mood or loss of interest. MDD is a periodic or episodic disorder where the symptoms go on and off over time. Along with it, suicide ideation and thought of death are common.
Persistent Depression Disorder, Dysthymia
One of the essential features of Dysthymia is a depressed mood that lasts throughout the day for at least 2years, in case of children the duration is for 1 year. Along with depressed mood, they should also experience two of the six symptoms (poor appetite, sleep disturbance, low energy, low self-esteem, trouble in concentrating and hopelessness)
Two types of Bi-Polar disorder are, BP-1 and BP-2. The manic symptom is the defining feature of the two and the severity of the two differentiate these. Bi-Polar 1 is known as Manic-Depressive Disorder where there is a single episode of mania during their lifetime however, they may or may not have a depressive episode. While Bi-Polar 2 is characterised by hypomanic (milder version of Manic) episodes with Major Depressive Episodes.
It is also a chronic mood disorder where the proposed symptom (numerous episodes of hypomanic symptoms and depressive symptoms) last for at least 2 years. They experience frequent alternating mild symptoms of Mania and Depression. People with cyclothymia have a high risk of developing Mania and Major Depression.
It is a blend of physical, emotional and behavioural changes that a woman undergoes after giving birth. The diagnosis is based on the length of time between their onset and delivery and the severity of depression. Some of the symptoms are difficulty in sleeping, appetite change, fatigue, decreased libido and frequent mood change. It generally begins within the 4 weeks after delivery
Seasonal Affective Disorder.
It is known by recurrent depressive episodes occurring typically in winter.
The severity of the episode ranges from mild to moderate and in the worse case, have the risk of suicide as well. It is more prevalent in people in the northern part of the world than in summer. The change in melatonin is responsible for this episode, they show more change in melatonin than the rest.
SAD Symptom is similar to those of Depression except that it coincides with seasons.
Weather personality type
There are four distinct types of personality in reaction to the weather.
- Summer lovers
They prefer warmer and sunny weather
- Summer haters
They are avoidant of the warm and sunny weather
- Rain haters
Such people dislike and hate rainy days since it results in bad and low mood in the person
These are the people who remain unaffected by weather and thus have a weak association between their mood and weather.
Weather and Mood
Studies have shown that people respond negatively in case of certain weather conditions and it exhibits symptoms like fatigue, dysmorphic mood, headaches and irritability.
Temperature, humidity level and the sunshine have a great impact on the mood of an individual where a high level of humidity results in low concentration as well as increased susceptibility to sleep and irritation.
It was also found that pleasant weather was found to be related to better memory, higher mood and improved cognitive style.
Warmer weather also evokes a more positive mood and rejuvenates the individual while sustained gloomy days make the person feel low and down.
However, in contrary to that, spring and spring weather often lead to more suicide and life taken by the individual through violent means than in winter and autumn. The reason behind this action was the result of high energy and motivation they get during the warmer season.
Rain/ Monsoon Depression
Typically this kind of depression occurs during June and July where the person has to cope up with lethargy, tiredness, overeating and the mood swing.
Some people also experience increased desire and craving for spicy and sweet food.
These kinds of symptoms start with monsoon and then gradually fade off when the monsoon stops.
Women are also more likely to develop Seasonal Affective Disorder than men.
Causes of a rain/ monsoon depression
Monsoon depression or depression when rain starts are typically caused by different factors such as:
- Lack of sunlight
When the body receives less sunlight, it doesn’t produce enough melatonin which is the hormone responsible for our internal biological clock.
Thus it increases tiredness, lethargic feeling and drowsiness.
- Low level of Serotonin
It is a neurotransmitter responsible for our mood as well as appetite. Fewer serotonin results in low mood and often takes away from appetite resulting in low motivation and tiredness throughout.
- Vitamin D content reduces
Enough sunlight produces more vitamin D and when our body doesn’t contain enough or receives enough sunlight through the day, there is a low level of Vitamin D which is linked to depression.
- Disrupts circadian rhythm
It is the body’s internal biological clock responsible for sleep, skin rejuvenation and other internal bodily processes. When the biological clock gets disrupted during winter as well as days with low sunlight, our body starts to function less and poorly.
- Take away motivation and will
When the weather is low and gloomy, the individual tends to sneak into the bed the whole day and disrupt the whole day routine. One tends to slow down and procrastinate and make it a lazy and dull day.
- Feel like you are trapped inside
Rainy weather tends to trap the person at home for the whole day and take away outdoor activities and fun.
- Dull and dark weather outside
When it rains, people feel everything around them dirty, muddy, smelly and dark. There is no sun around and feel that nothing excites them rather it pulls them down in bed.
Treatment of Rain Depression/ Seasonal Affective Disorder
Rain Depression or the seasonal affective depression requires treatment of both light and cognitive behavioural therapy. There are also cases of treatment done via medication.
Medication and therapies are broadly based on the severity of the symptoms as well as the intensity of mood fluctuation.
- For those undergoing intense mood swing
People undergoing intense mood and frequent mood fluctuation can be treated via medication in combination with therapy that can be Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
- Maintaining regular exercise
Developing a regular pattern of exercise and healthy eating helps individuals combat the seasonal affective depression and the mood swing one experiences due to down weather.
- Developing social support
Having a limited or vast social network can aid the individual in battling with the symptoms of depression. The assistant and moral offered by people around you makes the person recover better from the symptoms and tackle it.
- Letting the light in
Allowing light in the home and soaking the sunlight can help the individual to stay energised and rejoice. Getting enough natural light in the home as well as to the body can produce more melatonin thus, improve the functioning of the internal biological clock.
- Treating oneself with vacation
Planning outdoor activities and giving oneself a treat by going out or a vacation can lighten up the mood and can be a mood-booster for the individual. Something like weekend gateway can change and push away the dominating and pervasive low and depressed mood.
- Vitamin D supplement
Taking vitamin D supplements during winter months can help the body to absorb more calcium and benefit our immune system. One received enough vitamin D when in sunlight, however, taking a supplement of it can increase the production or level of it.
- Staying socially active
Engaging with social events and activities can rejuvenate your mood and make you feel connected with other than isolating oneself. Going out with friends for dates, events and dine out can improve your mood and let you feel you are not alone in the battle with a depressed mood.
- Disputing the negative thought
Since depression is caused by negative, irrational and distorted thoughts, one can get rid of these things by crushing down the thoughts by confronting and disputing it. Irrational thoughts and beliefs can be assessed based on reality and trace down.
- Melatonin supplements
If an individual goes through difficulty in getting sleep and often depressive symptoms, taking melatonin supplements can suppress the symptoms and help them to get away with it.
Medication or pharmacotherapy can help a person to recover or alleviate the depressive symptoms such as disruption in the sleep cycle, low and depressed mood etc.
These are some of the treatments or strategies one can follow to battle with seasonal affective depression/ rain depression and in case of depression in general.
FAQs: rain and depression
Does rain make you sad?
Sometimes, it differs from person to person. While for some people rain can be soothing and nourishing, for some other people, it might remind them of the memories and induce depressive symptoms.
Why does the weather affect my mood so much?
Yes, the weather does influence our mood since the secretion of the hormone, Serotonin is controlled and determined by the amount of sunlight received and absorbed by the body. Thus, weather affects the mood of an individual
Does weather affect mental health?
Yes, it does affect our mental health. Change in climate causes anxiety and other symptoms that might result in mental illnesses.
How does rain affect your mood?
Humidity and the strength of rain impact the individual’s mental health making them feel more irritable and tired. It is also reported that during the rainy season, people feel a low sense of worth.
What is the most depressing month?
January is believed to be the most depressing month.
Can rainy weather cause anxiety?
For some, rain might cause anxiety symptoms, but for some other people, it doesn’t affect at all.
In this article, we explored, “ rain and depression”, signs and symptoms of depression, types of depression, reason behind depression during rain and strategies of overcoming it and addressed some of the FAQ concerning the topic.
What we recommend for depression
If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.
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Farber, S. K. (2015). Brutal Weather, Depressed Mood, What We Can Do About It. psychology today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-mind-body-connection/201505/brutal-weather-depressed-mood-what-we-can-do-about-it
Gupta, S. (2015). Monsoon Depression is More Than that Rainy Day Feeling. Swaddle. https://theswaddle.com/why-monsoon-makes-you-sad/
Ohio State University. (2017). Easy habits to fight off gloomy-weather depression. Ohio State University: Wexner Medical Center. https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/blog/fight-off-gloomy-weather-depression
WebMD. (2019). Can Rainy Days Get You Down? WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/balance/features/can-rainy-days-really-get-you-down#2