The link between the darker months and negative mood changes is well known, but who knew there was also a correlation between the seasons changing, and the severity of symptoms such as OCD?
According to a study published in Psychiatry Research, people with OCD are more likely to see their “compulsions” worsen in the colder months, and in particular in the autumn. .
The underlying neurophysiology is thought to be connected with the neurotransmitter serotonin - that same ‘happy hormone’ which is involved in SAD syndrome, and which is particularly vulnerable to dips at this time of year. .
An interesting and ironic fact about the “doubting disease’, as OCD is also known, is that in constantly seeking certainty, sufferers can actually render themselves more uncertain. The reason is that the actions of checking candles, or doors, for example, reinforces the importance of these checks to the non-conscious brain, which then feeds the vicious cycle. .
Since OCD is often accompanied by feelings of shame and isolation, there is a tendency for those affected to go long periods of time without actually acknowledging, let alone seeking help for, their thought patterns and the associated stress and limitations they can cause.
If you think you or someone you know might be affected, you can find more information and support on the OCD UK website.
Photo credit: Rizzo Art