DETROIT (WWJ) – It’s been a gloomy month for Michigan, with a lack of sunshine for much of January.

In fact, Detroit has had only two days of sunshine for the month — which is a day longer than in Gaylord and Traverse City. Flint had more, with three days of sunshine. Compare that to Scottsdale, Arizona, which had 17 days of sunshine during the month of January.

So, what happened to the sun? Forecasters say a combination of weather patterns is to blame. A mild period with no wind and several days of intense fog, not to mention the snow, are all keeping the sunshine at bay.

If you’ve noticed people seem a little moodier than usual, you can blame it on the weather. Researchers say many people suffer from seasonal affective disorder, a depression that sets in when an individual lacks access to sunlight and warmth.

Victims suffer from lack of energy, depression, feelings of hopelessness, weight gain, even suicidal thoughts. It passes when spring descends.

Doctors suspect SAD happens when reduced sunlight causes a drop in serotonin and melatonin levels in the brain, both associated with feelings of happiness. Treatment includes light therapy, antidepressants and/or psychotherapy.

Spending time outdoors is also recommended, especially early in the morning on sunny days — which we should be seeing more of soon.


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