Seasonal affective disorder

S.A.D. is seasonal affective disorder also known as the winter blues. Symptoms include- lack of energy, increase in intake of carbs, increase in eating sweets, increased weight gain, excessive increase in sleep, sluggish throughout day, socially withdrawn during fall and winter months, lost interest in sexual activity, feelings of sadness, emptiness, or anxiousness. So people with this disorder complete turn opposite manic in a sense in the spring or summer months.

They get a massive burst of energy and are almost borderline obsessively productive, like a build up of energy just bursting out. these are the people whose episodes are sever and can be controlled with a mood stabilizer such as lithium, the individual might also be diagnosed with bipolar disorder (formerly called manic depressive illness). Six percent of patients are severe enough to require hospitalization. People with S.A.D. whose depression and lack of energy become debilitating to the point that it affects their work and relationships.

The body produces the hormone melatonin from the pineal gland (hypothalamus) deep in the brain while we sleep. It has a slowing effect on the nervous system and induces sleep. People with seasonal affective disorder nightly production of melatonin secretion is prolonged, it fails to shut off on time. Those that are most at risk would be women in their twenties, those who have family members with depression or those that are subject to depression.

In the United States, seasonal affective disorder starts in October and peaks in January it subsides in April. It is rarer in those that live within 30 degrees of the equator. S.A.D is up to eight times more likely in the northern United States and Canada than it is right here in Florida. In addition, an even rarer form of this happens in the summer months to people pertaining to too much heat or light. The symptoms also differ to agitation, loss of appetite, insomnia, and in extreme cases suicidal tendencies. It is estimated that less than one percent have this summer form.

There is some predictability to its onset for those already affected. There are ways to prepare for its return with preventative measures, like starting an exercise program, start visiting with a cognitive psychotherapist, or those that know ahead of time starting their medicines like Zoloft, beta-blocker propranolol, or St. Johns Wort, which is an antidepressant hypeorin. There is also 5-http= amino acid 5 hydroxtrptophan which increases serotonin without side effects and works for migraines too. However, for most light therapy in the morning before rising is the most commonly used treatment. Other treatments are still being researched. There is usually a side effect to every kind of treatment. Therefore, this winter when you are having a blue day stop and ask yourself is it just one blue day or could it be the winter blues.

Works Cited

Barbor, Cary. “Fighting for the light” psychology today: 23september2002

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