Seasonal Affective Disorder

Season Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of seasonal depression brought on by cold weather. Therefore, Seasonal Affective Disorder is more frequently experienced in people who live far north or south of the equator. Moreover, women are diagnosed with SAD four times more often than men.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal Affective Disorder, is also known as cyclothymia or the winter blues. SAD is a type of cyclical depression that comes and goes with the seasons. Although depressive episodes linked to the summer can occur, Seasonal Affective Disorder usually occurs in winter. Hence, this when there is less light. In fact, this type of depression follows a recurring seasonal pattern. Therefore, SAD treatment for clients suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder includes anticipating SAD onset and taking preemptive action

“What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?” is further illuminated by the symptomology. In addition, the symptomology follows the same pattern as most depressive disorders. However, SAD treatment often differs from traditional therapeutic approaches for major depressive episodes. People with Seasonal Affective Disorder often overproduce the hormone melatonin, which regulates sleep. Furthermore, melatonin production increases in winter. Thus, as winter days shorten, the melatonin production causes lethargy and the winter blues. Therefore, people with SAD may be inclined to sleep or avoid activity.

SAD Treatment Approaches

Consequently, studies reveal that people with SAD have 5 percent less of the mood-altering neurotransmitter serotonin in winter months than they do in summer months. To counteract this, Vitamin D is a natural dietary approach to boost serotonin. Additionally, light therapy is a key SAD treatment. Light therapy is designed to replace the sunshine lost in the darkness of the winter months.

Fresh air and time in nature is highly beneficial. Studies show that exercise, specifically outdoors, can improve symptoms of SAD. When we understand symptoms, we can change lifestyle patterns. Therefore, we heal the underlying cause. After we answer the question of, “what is seasonal affective disorder?” we can effectively treat the condition.

Sources: National Institute of Mental HealthMedline PlusPsychology Today

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