Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a kind of depression which occurs due to change in seasons. It is also known as winter depression or seasonal depression. This kind of depression repeatedly occurs and terminates at the same time every year. It occurs in the winter month and the person usually starts feeling better or normal around the spring season. In other words, if a person gets depressed every year during winters and after that the person automatically gets fine then he/she might be suffering from Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
Some people also report symptoms of SAD during the summer season however such cases are very rare.
Symptoms of Seasonal affective Disorder
As Seasonal affective disorder is a depressive disorder hence the symptoms of SAD and Depression are similar. Some of the common symptoms are given below:-
- The person feel tired throughout the day even after oversleeping
- Feeling upset almost all the time in a day
- Not interested in previously enjoyed activities
- Overeating especially having craving for carbohydrates
- Oversleeping or not able to sleep properly
- Increased psychomotor activities i.e. feeling restless, handwringing
- The feeling of hopelessness and helplessness
- Feeling that the person is not worthy of anything
- Concentration issues or difficult to focus
- Poor decision making
- Suicidal Thoughts
Causes of Seasonal affective Disorder
Some factors responsible for Seasonal affective Disorder
Change in body’s internal clock – For winter onset SAD, the probable cause is receiving less amount of sunlight during winter. The reduced amount of sunlight may bring changes in the body’s internal clock and this change results in depression.
Neurotransmitter imbalance – Decrease in the serotonin neurotransmitter affects the mood directly. This might result in the development of SAD. Reduction in receiving sunlight, in turn, reduces serotonin and hence triggers depression.
Change in melatonin level – Melatonin level determines sleep pattern as well as plays an important role in mood. The change in season brings a change in the melatonin level in the body which might cause SAD.
Family – It can be inherited from blood relatives. If the person’s blood relatives have SAD then they are vulnerable to developing the same disorder.
Treatment of Seasonal affective Disorder
In SAD the symptoms automatically improve when the season changes however the situation can get better more quickly if patients seek treatment. Some of the treatments are mentioned below: –
Light Therapy – In this, the patient is required to sit near the light therapy box for at least 20 minutes or more if required. This is practiced daily. It should be the first thing to be done in the morning in the winter season. Improvement is visible within one or two weeks however it is recommended to prevent the relapse this treatment should be carried out throughout the winter.
Antidepressants – A psychiatrist can prescribe the relevant antidepressants to the patient.
If you feel depressed during a particular month every year then it is due to SAD. Though it improves automatically still treatment is recommended.
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