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Feeling SAD? Try your local conservatory. Ours has a light show every winter.

This holiday season, I’m searching for any good news, and this might qualify. Or at least it might save people some money. According to studies conducted by the Journal of Clinical Psychology and the Centers for Disease Control and Production, the condition known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) may not exist. The two organizations started their studies fully expecting to find evidence of SAD, but no signs of light-dependent increases appeared in their depression measures. They’ve concluded that previous methodologies that supported SAD (talk of SAD peaked in the 90s) must have been seriously flawed. Here’s an article from Scientific American summing up the research and a hat tip to my favorite Buffalo weatherman, Don Paul, for a local report that drew my attention.

I am sure many of you know  people who own “happy lights,” or  talk of being afflicted by SAD, especially in late winter. For gardeners, a typical zone 3–6 winter isn’t anything to jump for joy about; there’s really not much to do in the garden and not many perennials to enjoy. As I’ve already stated here many times, I’m not a big fan of “winter interest” in the outdoor garden. On the other hand, winter doesn’t bother me that much, and I’ve never diagnosed myself with SAD. I enjoy walks outside, bird feeding and watching, and indoor gardening, mainly with bulbs. There’s plenty to do inside; it’s even kind of a relief not to worry about outdoor garden chores for a few months. I don’t know why—maybe it’s the investigative journalist in me who never emerged—but I kind of enjoy it when things are debunked. Though I know my SAD-suffering friends probably won’t buy this.

(Let’s see what happens when I post this on Facebook. I think I’ll find quite a cadre of SAD defenders.)

Posted by

Elizabeth Licata
on December 22, 2016 at 9:02 am, in the category Science Says.