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It's The S.A.D. Season

Updated on September 24, 2012
Casting light on Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can be one of the best things sufferers can do.
Casting light on Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can be one of the best things sufferers can do. | Source

There are days with lots of light. Take five during some of them.

It doesn't take a beach, but take a stroll on one anyway, if you can.  The water and the sand give a benefit of added reflected light., so can snow crystals in areas with snow cover.
It doesn't take a beach, but take a stroll on one anyway, if you can. The water and the sand give a benefit of added reflected light., so can snow crystals in areas with snow cover. | Source

What is S.A.D., and Why it matters.

You may not have Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.), but, even if you don't, someone you know has it. Understanding its impact can make your life, and the lives of those around you, more manageable.

S.A.D. typically manifests itself in the fall and winter. It is a form of depression which can be dealt with effectively, but, if it is not, here are some of the impacts it can have on people who are susceptible to S.A.D.: they can gain weight (which can have its own impact on their level of depression) craving for fattening and salty foods; they are more susceptible to anxiety attacks, suicidal thoughts, and to complaining that "I just don't have any energy, and I just want to sleep all the time"; and, they are likely to be less interested in sex, their jobs and tasks, their appearance, and those around them.

The holidays, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year, may find the S.A.D. sufferer even more depressed than the "blues" which can arise for anyone who might be feeling alone or forgotten in the seasonal rush of activity swirling about them.

The cause of S.A.D. is most often attributed to an exterior cause, the reduced hours of sunlight as weather and the season itself make for grayer days and longer nights. Even on days of full sunshine, the angle of the sun during that season makes its rays less direct, less able to dispel the disorder.

S.A.D. sufferers can make changes in their diet, and those can help them, just as such changes can help others dealing with other causes of depression; but the most common helpful change is a relatively simple one: get more light, even if it is derived from man-made light that duplicates the wavelengths of sunlight.

If the sufferer doesn't want to spend time sitting in such bright lighting while reading, sewing, or wrapping presents, the even better solution is getting some exercise and fresh air....while taking a walk during the brightest part of the day.

Doing that can help with the weight gain problem, "get the juices going," provide a change of scene, and get some old fashioned sunlight, even some sunshine. So put one of those large, yellow, smiley faces on a yellow Post-it (R) note for a reminder that you, the person in your family, that co-worker or neighbor, can cope successfully as the longest night of the year on December 21st gives way to the lengthening days and daylight that bring back those happy days of spring and summer.

But, fall and winter come each year, and so will S.A.D. for those it affects each year. Knowledge is power, and knowing what can be done to make things better actually does make things better...and brighter.

_______

© 2011 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.


How widespread is S.A.D.?

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    • Perspycacious profile image
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      Demas W Jasper 4 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Rolly A Chabot: "Cabin fever" is another good name we can often apply to SAD. There are other good Hubs on SAD, and a wealth of information on the Internet, all because this is a very common condition and not always confined to the shorter daylight hours of fall and winter! Good comment, thanks.

    • Perspycacious profile image
      Author

      Demas W Jasper 4 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Bonitaanna: Good points, all of them. We are fortunate that the previous owners built our home as their dream house, and there is direct sunlight in every room in the house at some time of the day (and great views, too!)

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 4 years ago from Alberta Canada

      HI Perspycacious... Well written hub on S.A.D.... I lived in the far north refered to as the land of the midnight sun. It was amazing to watch the sun dipped down and have a night only last minutes. On the flip side in the winter months the sun would not make it up until 10 am and disappear by 2 in the afternoon. Now if anyone thinks those kinds of seasons do not mess you up... think again... they are hard on you because you are never in time with your internal clock. Winters are long and cabin fever is the result...

      Rolly in Canada

    • Bonitaanna profile image

      Bonitaanna 5 years ago from Oil City, PA

      My husband and I both have this, as we both get very groggy in overcast days. I have a lamp for it and it is always on over my head when I sit. We also have three foot overhangs on our house and therefore does not allow the light into the windows as much, and it makes our house more darker than most. I do something else for it and it helps a lot. I take St. Johns Wort, 1-3 capsules a day, it contains hypericin and it supports, a positive mood, and that really helps, I alspo take walks when the weather allows. It also helps to turn on upbeat music to listen too. B..........

    • Perspycacious profile image
      Author

      Demas W Jasper 5 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Seize the moments when the sun does shine. Low angle, short days, Vitamin D3 is needed. Try 5,000 IU per day, and it's good for things researchers continue to discover. Any snow yet? Reflections off the snow crystals are winter's version of summer's reflections off the water and sand. Soak them up with joy.

    • duffsmom profile image

      P. Thorpe Christiansen 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

      We live in a climate that is very dark and gray much winter and spring and both my husband and I are tremendously affected by SAD. I've found high doses of Vit. D helps somewhat but nothing really helps but those lovely summer day! Great article!

    • Perspycacious profile image
      Author

      Demas W Jasper 5 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      The longest night of the year is coming up again: December 21, 2011. If you can swing it, plan to spend it at a beach in Florida or California!

    • carolinemd21 profile image

      Caroline Marie 5 years ago from Close to Heaven

      Very informative article. I always tend to get depressed during fall and winter. SOme years were really bad. Thank you for sharing.

    • April Reynolds profile image

      April Reynolds 5 years ago from Arizona

      This is very informative, I have known people who get depressed when winter comes around, but didn't know there was a direct cause. I'm glad we moved to such a sunny place!

    • Healthy Pursuits profile image

      Karla Iverson 5 years ago from Oregon

      As my sister says, "All I want to do is wrap up in a big blanket and watch movies while I eat hot soup." I have it, too, but to a lesser degree. I find that if I sit by my S.A.D. light while I work on my computer in the morning, my brain is brighter the rest of the day. I might be solar powered...

    • Perspycacious profile image
      Author

      Demas W Jasper 5 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Two members of my family are somewhat affected by it, and (as if in confirmation)women are more likely to have it than men. Some people even have it in the summer!

    • bethperry profile image

      Beth Perry 5 years ago from Tennesee

      I was diagnosed with S.A.D. some years ago, and the doctor recommended the use of a special lamp. I used it for awhile but then found out taking walks in the afternoon light helped a lot more. But great info here, thanks for sharing.