Seasonal affective disorder

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Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also called winter depression, winter blues, summer depression and seasonal depression, is a mood disorder apparent in people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year, show depressive symptoms at the same time each year most often in the winter.[1][2]

Cause and Symptoms[change | change source]

One possibility is that SAD is related to a lack of serotonin caused by the lack of sunlight, which could lead to serotonin polymorphisms. Serotonin polymorphisms could be responsible in SAD,[3] although it has been disputed.[4]

Some symptoms are:[5]

  • Feeling sad, grumpy anxious or moody
  • Losing interest in your usual activities
  • Gaining weight
  • Sleep and appetite problems
  • Withdraw from social interaction
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness

Treatment[change | change source]

Treatments include light therapy, medication, ionized-air administration,[6] cognitive-behavioral therapy, and carefully timed supplementation[7] of the hormone melatonin.[8] Doctors often cure SAD with bright light therapy,[9] although normal light therapy is the leading treatment for SAD. Light therapy can consist of exposure to sunlight, either by direct exposure from spending time outside,[10] or using a computer controlled heliostat (a device that includes a mirror, usually a plain mirror, usually turns to keep reflecting sunlight on a specific object)[11] to reflect into the windows of a home or office. Physical exercise is also known as an effective form of therapy for SAD, especially when combined with other forms of treatments.[12]

References[change | change source]

  1. Ivry, Sara (2002-08-13). "Seasonal Depression Can Accompany Summer Sun". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-04. 
  2. Oginska, Halszka; Oginska-Bruchal, Katarzyna (2014-05-01). "Chronotype and personality factors of predisposition to seasonal affective disorder". Chronobiology International 31 (4): 523–531. doi:10.3109/07420528.2013.874355. ISSN 0742-0528. 
  3. Johansson, C.; Smedh, C.; Partonen, T.; Pekkarinen, P.; Paunio, T.; Ekholm, J.; Peltonen, L.; Lichtermann, D. et al. (2001-04-01). "Seasonal Affective Disorder and Serotonin-Related Polymorphisms". Neurobiology of Disease 8 (2): 351–357. doi:10.1006/nbdi.2000.0373. 
  4. Johansson, C.; Willeit, M.; Levitan, R.; Partonen, T.; Smedh, C.; Favero, J. Del; Kacem, S. Bel; Praschak-Rieder, N. et al. (2003/07). "The serotonin transporter promoter repeat length polymorphism, seasonal affective disorder and seasonality". Psychological Medicine 33 (5): 785–792. doi:10.1017/S0033291703007372. ISSN 1469-8978. 
  5. "Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic". Retrieved 2017-12-04. 
  6. Terman, Michael; Terman, Jiuan Su (2006-12-01). "Controlled Trial of Naturalistic Dawn Simulation and Negative Air Ionization for Seasonal Affective Disorder". American Journal of Psychiatry 163 (12): 2126–2133. doi:10.1176/ajp.2006.163.12.2126. ISSN 0002-953X. 
  7. Bhattacharjee, Yudhijit (2007-09-14). "Is Internal Timing Key to Mental Health?" (in en). Science 317 (5844): 1488–1490. doi:10.1126/science.317.5844.1488. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 17872420. 
  8. "NIMH » Recent Science News". Retrieved 2017-12-04. 
  9. Avery, D. H.; Kizer, D.; Bolte, M. A.; Hellekson, C. (2001-04-01). "Bright light therapy of subsyndromal seasonal affective disorder in the workplace: morning vs. afternoon exposure" (in en). Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 103 (4): 267–274. doi:10.1034/j.1600-0447.2001.00078.x. ISSN 1600-0447. 
  10. Beck, Melinda (2009-12-01). "Bright Ideas for Treating the Winter Blues". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2017-12-04. 
  11. "Heliostat" (in en). Wikipedia. 2017-11-01. 
  12. Pinchasov, Boris B.; Shurgaja, Alexandra M.; Grischin, Oleg V.; Putilov, Arcady A. (2000-04-24). "Mood and energy regulation in seasonal and non-seasonal depression before and after midday treatment with physical exercise or bright light". Psychiatry Research 94 (1): 29–42. doi:10.1016/S0165-1781(00)00138-4.