Seasonal Affective DisorderBy Stephen M
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a psychological condition related to the change in seasons. The condition occurs within almost the same period every year, with symptoms ranging from depression, hopelessness, fatigue. The disorder shows up in seasons with less sunlight, like winter, and primarily affects young adults and women.
What causes seasonal affective disorder?
One factor is access or the amount of sunlight. Areas with long winter nights and less sunlight have higher cases of SAD. This explains why Florida would have fewer SAD cases than Alaska and Canada. Another factor is that families with a history of psychological conditions have significant risks of getting SAD.
Symptoms of seasonal affective disorder
Symptoms usually start from the month of October/November and last until March/April. Some people may, however, experience early or late symptoms.
Winter period symptoms
- Daytime fatigue
- Lack of concentration
- Weight gain
- Lack of sexual drive
- Weight loss
- Sleep deprivation
- Lack of appetite
It is also possible for people with SAD to have suicidal thoughts.
Diagnosing seasonal affective disorder
Seasonal affective disorder has symptoms similar to conditions like bipolar, mononucleosis, and hypothyroidism. Therefore, the doctor diagnosing you may recommend tests related to the above mentions before checking for SAD. Your psychiatric may enquire for more information, including when symptoms start and things you experience.
Treatment of SAD
Treatments for SAD include therapy and counseling. Treatments for wintertime SAD may involve light therapy, which uses a specialized light box for at least 30 minutes a day. The light replicates the natural light and increases the amount of light you get for the day.
Dawn simulator is another method of treatment. It helps to stimulate the body clock through a timer-activated light that mimics the sunrise.
You can also try the following:
- Regular sleep
- Healthy diet