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What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Many people experience short periods of time where they feel sad or not like their usual selves. Sometimes, these mood changes begin and end when the seasons change. It may be that people start to feel ‘down’ when the days get shorter in the fall and winter, it also called ‘winter blues’ and begin to feel better in the spring, with longer daylight hours.

SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) symptoms start in the late fall or early winter and go away during the spring and summer, this is known  as winter-pattern SAD Or winter depression .Some people may experience depressive episodes during the spring and summer months, this is called summer-pattern SAD or summer depression.

The Signs and Symptoms of SAD-

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression characterized by its recurrent seasonal pattern, with symptoms lasting about 4 to 5 months per year. Therefore, the signs and symptoms of SAD include those associated with major depression.

Symptoms of major depression may include-

  1. Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly everyday.
  2. Losing interest in activities.
  3. Having problems with sleep.
  4. Feeling sluggish or agitated.
  5. Having low energy.
  6. Having difficulty concentrating.
  7. Having low energy.

For winter-pattern seasonal Affective Disorder, additional specific Symptoms may include-

  • Hypersomnia
  • Overeating, especially with a craving for carbohydrates
  • Weight gain
  • Social Withdrawal

             Specific symptoms for summer-pattern Seasonal Affected Disorder may include-

  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Poor Appetite, leading to weight loss
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Episodes of violent behavior

       What causes seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

                        Scientists do not fully understand what causes seasonal affective disorder. Some researches indicates that people with SAD may have reduced activity of the brain chemical (neurotransmitter) serotonin, which helps regulate mood. Deficits in vitamin D may be cause of these problems because Vitamin D is believed to promote serotonin activity. In addition to vitamin D consumed with diet, the body produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight on the skin.

Can Seasonal Affected Disorder be prevented?

Because the timing of the onset of winter pattern Seasonal Affected Disorder is so predictable, people with a history of seasonal affected disorder. Light therapy or psychotherapy ahead of time could prevent the onset of depression.

How is Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD) ?

There are four main types of therapy that may be used alone or in combination:

  1. Light Therapy b) Antidepressant medications c) Psychotherapy d) Vitamin D

People should discuss with their healthcare providers if they Want to initiate treatment early to prevent depressive episodes.

 resource-( National Institute of Mental Health)


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