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Looking Into Seasonal Affective Disorder

By Yuan Cheng

Highlights

  • Linked to the change in sunlight quantities that come with seasonal changes

  • A serious form of depression

  • requires treatments such as light therapy

Introduction


What you might characterize as a simple case of seasonal blues can actually turn out to be a serious disorder—the Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Generally, SAD symptoms of depression and listlessness begin occurring at the beginning of colder seasons like fall and winter, though it is not impossible for symptoms to occur during the summer for some. While such feelings do tend to subside once hotter months like spring or summer comes back around, it interferes heavily with the patient’s daily life and does require serious medical treatment.


Causes


The current known cause for SAD is the shortening of daytime and the lack of sunlight that comes with winter months. Melatonin, a brain chemical that induces drowsiness, is also produced in higher quantities during fall and winter. The production of serotonin, the happiness and optimism hormone, is also affected by the change in natural light.


Symptoms


There are a broad range of symptoms for SAD, many of which overlap with symptoms of depression. The most typical symptoms include sluggishness, apathy (especially towards activities that you used to like), suicidal thoughts, surfeit consumption, inconsistent attention span, etc.


Treatments


There are a variety of ways to treat SAD. Light therapy, which makes use of light boxes designed to ameliorate the condition upon exposure, is a plausible way of treating SAD with the guidance of medical professionals. Using antidepressants could be a way to combat SAD, but usage should be approved by a certified doctor first. Talk therapy and CBT therapy should also be considered.


Conclusion


Interesting Fact

SAD is more common amongst women than they are amongst men, and they tend to occur in those living more towards the north.


References

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