Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression. The depressive mood occurs during the fall or winter season, when there is less light in a year. The depression symptom can affect their daily functions. Studies have shown that SAD has been linked to a chemical imbalance in the brain, which is caused by less sunlight and shorter daylight hours. Seasonal changes cause internal biological changes, which can result in mood shifts. SAD is quite common in regions where there are fewer daylight hours in the winter.

The mood changes can be more serious and affect emotions, thoughts, and behavior. If there are significant changes in mood and behavior with the change in season, it is more likely to be SAD. The symptoms start in the early winter and go away during the summer, and some people experience depressive symptoms during the summer, which are uncommon.

The cause of SAD is not accurately known and is complex to understand. Some studies have indicated that a reduction in exposure to sunlight can lead to a decrease in serotonin regulation, overproduction of melatonin, which affects mood and energy, and vitamin D deficiency, which can lead to depression.

SAD Symptoms
  • Lack of energy
  • Lack of interest or pleasure
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Social withdrawal
  • Persistent sadness
  • Sudden outburst of anger
  • Physical health issues – Cold, fever, other illness
  • Suicidal or self-harm behaviour
  • Sleeping too much or difficulty in waking up
  • Sleeping less or waking up in between
  • Change in appetite
  • Fatigue

If you are experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, please check with a mental health professional and do not self-diagnose.

SAD Treatment

There are four specific treatment plans that are usually used when treating clients with SAD. Light therapy and vitamin D are treatments specifically used in the treatment of SAD. Psychotherapy and medication are generally used to treat depression.

Light Therapy: The main aim of the therapy is to expose the patient to a bright light. The person needs to sit in front of a very bright light for 30 to 45 minutes.

Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy is also known as talk therapy or counseling, which can help people think and behave rationally. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can also be effectively used to address distorted thinking. These talk therapies can help the individual manage their symptoms and engage in activities to make them feel better. These therapies can be short- and long-term.

Medications: Based on the intensity and cause of the SAD, medications can be prescribed by a psychiatrist.

Vitamin D: Empirical studies have determined people with SAD have a vitamin D deficiency. So it will help the client to eat vitamin D supplements to treat the symptoms. Exposure to sunlight is also a good source of vitamin D.

Here to help

If you need help, Ananth Jeevan is here.

Email Us

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *