SK Doctoroff Counseling and Therapy in Southfield Michigan


Posted by Admin on 6/2/2015


It was a beautiful day, the first of hopefully many. I had a full schedule that day with my clients coming in one after another, every 50 minutes.  More than one told me how good they were feeling; how much better they felt when the sun was shining.  Some clients even mentioned that maybe once a week sessions could start going to once every other week or once every three weeks.

Today it is cold and rainy.  If the same clients came in would they make the same requests? Does the sun, the Vitamin D, truly make us feel better about ourselves? Does it make a difference in how we see our problems; our ability to handle the hard times? Does the sun help with depression and anxiety?

Studies have shown that around the world there are low levels of Vitamin D. However, in the article “Psychological Consequences of Vitamin D Deficiency – Vitamin D supplementation may help depression” ( Nov 14, 2011, James M. Greenblatt M.D.), it is noted Vitamin D is a small part of the larger depression picture. Many doctors now test for levels of Vitamin D and will put patients on supplements for deficiencies. While this shows signs of helping,  it is only part of the mood issue. So while having a Vitamin D deficiency  “…impairs and prolongs recovery from depression” the treatment of depression with Vitamin D is just one aspect.

According to an article written by the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) in 2012 ( July 25,2012, Mark Easton), statistics do not show a significant change in how people feel when the weather changes. Easton mentions that there are parts of the world that do not get a lot of sun but still have lower levels of Seasonal Affective Disorder (Iceland was one example). Why would this be?

This is difficult to answer. Most of the articles I researched are inconclusive. It is dependent on where you live around the globe; if you are male or female; or if you already have a mood disorder (this can actually be triggered with more sun). What I did come across was how nature affects us positively. In order to be outdoors we need to have weather that cooperates.

Carolyn Gregoir wrote ( January 14, 2014 Carolyn Gregoir), happiness levels are correlated with climate. If the winters are warmer than expected and the summers are cooler than expected people have an easier time getting outdoors. This article states that stress levels are lower when spending more time in the outdoors. It is also noted that being outside contributes to more physical activity and “increased well-being.”

So back to my clients and the weather change.  We don’t want to deny anyone the feeling that here, in Michigan, seeing some sun after a long cold winter makes one happier and brighter for the day but, we also need to recognize that our problems don’t go away when the sun comes out.

If you are having problems in the areas of depression, anxiety, grief and loss, cancer issues or parenting please contact me and let’s talk.


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