Many disorders are reported due to thedeficiency of sunlight and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is one amongthem, which is the aggressive version of ‘winter blues’. As the name implies, thisdisorder does not last for a year, but occurs seasonally in every year – mainlyin winter time, but minor cases are seen during late spring or early summermonths.
It is found that two to three percent of thewhole population is affected by this and women are more vulnerable to SAD thanmen. The symptoms are known at the age of 30, which include the following -difficult to concentrate, gloomy and dull, greed for sweet and starchy food, resultingin overweight, lethargy, drowsy and expressing uninterest in job and sociallife. The reason behind the occurrence of SAD is still to discover, but is opined that the difference inthe regulation of heat and hormone production could stimulate this condition. Overdose of melatonin- a hormoneproduced by a gland in the brain during the night and at the time of scarcesunlight causes fatigue and lethargy.
Moreover serotonin, a neurotransmitterthat controls the way of behaving, might have decreased during the fall andwinter season, due to reduced sunlight. Serotonin level is directlyproportional to the amount of sunlight. SAD is a curable disease sincepatients respond positively to treatments. The first and foremost one is thelight therapy (also called photo therapy) in which the affected person isexposed to high intensity fluorescent light source (which can be light boxes,light visors, or light units that emits fluorescent light) which is comparableto daylight. The duration of this treatment varies from people to people. The light box must be CSA (CanadianStandards Association) approved and must be capable of filtering harmfulultraviolet rays.
Moreover, doctor’s prescription must be sought for beforepurchasing one. You should be cautious while taking insurance plans since thecost for light boxes is not included in every insurance plans. People having extreme SAD conditionsare prescribed with antidepressant drugs. Besides, physical exercises helps toprevent anxiety, sadness and tiredness. Another important treatment is calledcomplementary therapy in which specific herbs (such as St.
John’s wort that canalleviate depression) are used against the symptoms of SAD. But it is advisedto consult your doctor before moving to this therapy, as herbs may interactwith antidepressants giving negative impact on body. As it is already mentioned, SAD is a seasonaldisorder and can repeat the same conditions on the next years too. But thereare certain things that can be done to prevent the episodes of SAD. The first three things areinterrelated to each other. They stick to the vitality if sunlight. Exerciseregularly (in daylight or near light sources is more recommended) to overcomethe state of depression and drowsiness.
Though the sky is cloudy- withoutstrong rays of sun- it is better to exercise outdoor since an overcastsky is more luminous than light boxes. During winter season, outdoor hobbiessuch as skating, skiing, or walking can be tried, so that, you will be exposedto weak sunlight and light reflected off snow. Also in order to seek sunlight,you can go for a holiday trip to the tropical regions. Be conscious that SAD is not anyone’sfault but is a condition that you should face due to insufficient sunlight. So,be aware of your own character and behavior in order to lessen the symptoms ofSAD.
Always be optimistic and believe that SAD is a curable disease, affectedby two to three percent of the general population (statistical information).So, do not be disheartened and oblivion to face the condition, which is greaterthan mild depression and should ask for help (to friends, your family ,and yourdoctor). Never hesitate to suppress the feelings of loneliness and depressionwith the support of social interaction.