Outside The Lines

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Can Depression Change the Way People See Color?

September 17, 2018 Jessica 0 Comments

Depression affects about 300 million people worldwide. It can be experienced slightly or very severely.

“Depression affects people from all walks of life, no matter what their background. It can affect people of all ages as well,” noted a contributor to Depression Statistics Everyone Should Know.

A Few Symptoms of Depression

The symptoms of depression, according to Medical News Today, include but are not limited to:

  • Feelings of sadness and hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Physical pain
  • Appetite changes
  • Sleep problems

It’s vital to understand that depression and sadness are not synonymous. Sadness is a healthy emotion when experienced during times of grief. However, for many, depression is absolutely overwhelming and goes far beyond mere sadness.

Treatments for depression are extensive and should be discussed with a healthcare provider. Interestingly, research suggests that depression changes the way individuals see color.

Depression May Affect the Way People See Color



Did you know that depression may literally color your world a bit on the gray side? According to the Huffington Post, this may be the case. It does this by “impairing the neural processes involved in color perception.”

“Researchers asked 127 undergraduates to watch either a sad or funny video. Then, the students viewed 48 color swatches ― which were desaturated to the point of being almost gray ― and tried to identify them as red, yellow, green or blue. Those who had watched the sad clip were less accurate in identifying colors than the students who watched the funny clip, suggesting that they were perceiving less of the color,” wrote Carolyn Gregoire, contributor to the Huffington Post.

While these findings are not definite, it is interesting to consider that our moods may have the ability to affect the way we physically see color.

“(With depression), everything feels hopeless, and there’s no way to feel better. Depression may make a person feel that there’s no way ever to feel good again.” — Medical News Today

Can Color Therapy Ease Depression?

It’s possible (but not proven) that color therapy may ease symptoms of depression in some people.

“Color therapy for depression operates on the principle that exposure to certain colors causes changes in our moods, and that by modulating that exposure, we can alter our emotional state at will,” stated Psy Web. “Color therapy is conducted by a trained specialist and can be performed anywhere from several times a week to a few times a month, or even in one’s own home.”

There is no evidence that definitely proves color therapy is helpful for lessening depression. However, individual testimonials have claimed it is effective.

Do you notice seeing the world through a gray tint when you are depressed? Share your thoughts with us in the section below.

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