Heavy Rains May Cause Depression

By: Jarrod Aldom
By: Jarrod Aldom

The Valley has seen an awful lot of rain lately. It's ruined a lot of people's plans. But WHSV found out it can ruin something else as well.

It's a beautiful day in the city of Harrisonburg. People are taking advantage of the sunshine, relaxing, playing sports, or spending some time with their families. But a day like this has become the "exception" and not the norm. It's rained 19 of the last 31 days. And all that rain can affect people's moods.

"In the winter it is typical that a certain percentage of the population will experience mild to moderate depression from the overcast weather and the lack of sunlight, less hours of sunlight," says Ronda Weber, a clinical psychologist. "What we've experienced in the last month is similar to that."

Weber says lack of sunlight affects many things in our bodies. "Sunlight affects our mood, affects our sleep cycle, affects our energy level, affects even our craving for sweets or carbohydrates, has an effect on our physical and emotional health," explains Weber.

Weber says this type of seasonal affective disorder doesn't last long in most people.

"For most people it's just going to be transitory symptoms that will go away as soon as the sun comes out again like today," says Weber. "If an individual is already prone to depression it may precipitate a depressive cycle or period for them."

But she says some people find times like this more depressing than winter.

"Part of the effects of depression is what our expectations are," states Weber. "And if we have expectations that we're going to do outdoor activities and enjoy the sunshine and instead weekend after weekend it rains, that's going to make us more likely to feel depressed or irritable."

Weber says if people just went out in the rain for two hours, they would get enough light to alleviate any depression.

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