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SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder Light Therapy Buy at Amazon Sun Lamp

Updated on June 9, 2015

What is SAD?

Living in Minnesota, the seasons are basically one, Winter. Winter lasts for about 6 months. Summer for four months (if we are lucky) and the other two months are either Spring or Fall.

Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD, is a condition that affects a person at the same time of year every year. During the Winter Season. It is a depression. If you are normally upbeat and happy during the Spring and Summer but become depressed during the Winter, you may have SAD.

Cause

A hormone called Melatonin is produced at higher levels in the dark. Therefore, in the shorter winter days, melatonin within ourselves is produced at a higher rate. Melatonin is a sleep related hormone. Thus explains the fatigue and tiredness.

Your biological clock (circadian rhythm) tells us when to sleep and when to rise. Winter has shorter daylight hours and therefore, "throws off" your internal clock.

Serotonin levels drop due to reduced sunlight. Serotonin affects our moods. It is linked with depression

Who Gets SAD?

Anyone can become depresed or sad. And of course depression can occur at anytime of the year. But it is more common in:

  • Peple who live in cold climates, where the winter days are shorter
  • Women
  • Those who have a family member or relative with SAD

Approximately 10 million Americans have been diagnosed with SAD.

Symptoms of SAD

Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms include:

  • Depression and/or Hopelessness
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of energy including oversleeping
  • Social withdrawal and loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates. Such as pasta or bread.
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty concentrating

Treatment

Treatment for SAD include:

  • Photo-therapy or bright light therapy is a very useful and beneficial treatment. It has been shown to be effective in nearly 85% of diagnosed cases. Patients remain in light up to ten times the intensity of normal domestic lighting up to four hours a day. Seem like to much? The good thing is that you can receive this therapy while doing normal activities, such as watching TV, working on the computer or reading.
  • Spending time outdoors during the day or allowing more sunlight into your may be helpful.
  • If photo-therapy does not work, an antidepressant drug may prove effective in reducing or eliminating SAD symptoms.

**As always, discuss your symptoms with your doctor to receive the best treatment**.

 Many people excuse their symptoms as "Winter Blues" or even "Holiday Blues." Although some may experience a short period of depression during this time, people with SAD do not. It is not short-trm and lasts for the season- every season. Please discuss your symptoms with your Doctor and get the care you deserve. 

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    • Spacey Gracey profile image

      Spacey Gracey 

      8 years ago from Essex, UK

      Great hub - I live in the UK and in the winter our daylight hours get pretty short and I get this awful claustrophobic trapped feeling. Been considering getting a UV lamp to help with it. I have noticed that even in the summer if I don't get outdoors for a couple of days I start to feel low. Thanks for the informative hub.

    • elayne001 profile image

      Elayne 

      8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      I experienced this after living in Hawaii for a few years and then staying in Utah where it is cold and dark in the winter. Pretty depressing day after day. I like to see the sun at least once in a while. Great hub.

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