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Seasonal Depressive Disorder
Seasonal Depressive Disorder is often referred to as SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder. What’s Really Behind Seasonal Affective Disorder? What are the causes? What treatments are available and who is affected?
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is also known as winter depression or winter blues – another type of affective disorder related to the seasons. This mood disorder usually begins in fall or early winter and ends in late spring or early summer. According to Mayoclinic.com, there is a rare form of SAD and it is called summer SAD.
Summer TAS generally begins in late spring and ends in the fall. As stated by this source, there are approximately four to six percent of SAD patient cases in the population.
Signs and symptoms disappear and reappear around the same time each year. Some people experience SAD in early spring or even summer. Symptoms of winter-onset SAD can include depression, feeling hopeless, social withdrawal, excessive sleeping, unexplained anxiety, loss of interest in usual activities once enjoyed and enjoyed, impaired mental appetite, especially certain cravings for high carbohydrate foods, increased weight, inability to concentrate and process information.
Symptoms of summer-onset SAD may include persistent and unusual anxiety, difficulty sleeping, irritable behavior, unusual restlessness, weight loss, decreased appetite, increased sex drive. In some patients, spring and summer can cause symptoms of mental hyperactivity or mania or sometimes a milder form of mania or hypomania.
These can include consistently elevated behavior, unexplained unusual restlessness, and hyperactive thinking and speech. Reverse SAD is a form of bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is an event in which people experience abnormally high moods followed by abnormal depression for periods of time such that these sudden mood swings affect normal functioning.
Clues that may indicate the presence of reverse SAD may include euphoria or an abnormally high and persistent mood, increased social interactions, unexplained hyperactivity, uncontrolled behavioral reactions out of proportion to the situation.
Like other types of depression, women are more affected by SAD than men. It can begin in adolescence or early adulthood. The origin is unknown, but it is linked to underlying factors such as age, genetics, ambient light, body temperature and hormonal regulations.
Specific factors such as disruption of your biological clock (circadian rhythm-wake/sleep cycle) caused by reduced sunlight in autumn or winter can lead to feeling depressed, disruption during seasonal change of levels melatonin, a natural hormone that plays a role in sleep patterns. and mood; and a drop in levels of serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that declines due to reduced sunlight that affects mood, plays a role in SAD.
SAD responds well to medical treatments such as phototherapy, antidepressants, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), and psychotherapy. Should seek help from a health care provider when first symptoms appear and treatment should be taken seriously before condition worsens, which may lead to suicidal thoughts or behaviors, social withdrawal , school or work problems and substance abuse.
It can help treat this disorder by making your surroundings sunnier and brighter, get out of the house and talk with friends and other relatives, most importantly, a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise help relieve the stress and anxiety. Living a healthy lifestyle and being fit will make you feel good about yourself, which will increase your self-esteem and endorphins (happiness hormone released during exercise or any physical exertion) resulting in a good mood and a happy life.
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