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Sick, Sad, or Both?

As fall rolls around so are all kinds of viruses. Lots of us are getting sick again and taking precautions to stay safe. Of course, this creates more worry and can bring on a sense of dread when thinking about going back into the COVID days. But when we're sick we also tend to feel more down and out of it. Recent research into both COVID, the common cold, flu, and other viruses show that our bodies reduce the amount of chemicals like dopamine that contribute to our happiness while we're sick. The main theory behind this is that our body wants to use all the resources it can to fight any sickness, which probably explains the bleh feeling we have when we're sick. It's also depressing to be sick anyway. However, sometimes being sick can bring up feelings of dread or sadness that are more under the surface.

In a strange way being sick can alert us to what we or those around us (especially teenagers and young adults) might be feeling emotionally. So the next time you are sick, notice what kinds of thoughts come to mind and if they trend negatively. Those thoughts might be able to tell you a lot about how you're feeling overall and if you might need help beyond over the counter cold medicine. And even if you manage to not get sick this fall, it's still a good idea to think about any sadness or other issues you are facing and if seeking out therapy could be helpful.

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