Arpita, 21, a final year engineering student, is a normal young woman. Apart from enthusiastically pursuing her studies, she likes to go out with her friends and have some fun.
But in the last month all this has changed for Arpita, a paying guest. She has started to bunk classes, remains ensconced in her small room most of the time and becomes irritable and breaks down without any apparent reason.
Arpita is one of the several cases of monsoon blues or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) that has come to the fore due to the almost constant cloudy-rainy weather during the past one month.
Another similar case is of Vaibhav Verma, a young school teacher. A complete outdoor, fun-loving young man otherwise, Vaibhav has started having depression fits, much to the chagrin of his friends and family. He is also showing classic symptoms of SAD.
About 20 to 30 persons out of the roughly 300 who sought psychiatric consultation at the Hamidia Hospital in the city during the past month have been diagnosed to be suffering from SAD.
“Like most psychiatric problems, cases of SAD have also shown an increasing trend in Bhopal. Thankfully we have better treatment facilities like light therapy, psychotherapy and antidepressant drugs,” said Dr RN Sahu, head of department of psychiatry of Mahatma Gandhi Medical College (to which Hamidia Hospital is associated).
The psychiatrist said that mood swings during rainy season was a natural phenomenon. It happens mostly because of dull atmosphere. People get the feeling of hopelessness and do not feel like working. Also their inter-personal relationships deteriorate. There could also be sleep disturbances and decrease in sexual urges.
Dr Sahu said that SAD could happen during any season change, but during the rainy season the dull atmosphere and lack of sunlight affects biological rhythm of the people and precipitates underlying mood disorders, making them prone to depression.
Anita Singh, professor of psychology at MLB College, said that according to psychology rainy season is considered as romantic weather. But darkness and dull environment during this season equally affects the mood of a person, she added.
“Moisture in the weather and dullness accelerates the feeling of depression. The symptoms increase during evening hours as people usually go out at this time, but the weather prevents it,” said Anita. Dr Sahu suggests that people prone to SAD should seek medical help, avoid taking stress and seek the company of friends and family to get emotional support.
(Some names hav e been changed to protect their identity)