Seasonal Affective Disorder

Sunlight is essential to all living forms and when there is a lack of sunlight we tend to get diseased. One of the most important disorders is SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) which as the name suggests is a seasonal disorder that happens during the winter season. It is basically a type of depression.

Symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Dullness
  • Insomnia
  • Feeling hungry and hence gaining weight
  • Less focus and concentration
  • Irritability syndrome
  • Less immunity
  • Usage of addictives
  • Reduced libido

Causes

The below-mentioned causes are just assumptive theories formulated by the scientists.

Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D is formed in the body due to the exposure of sunlight. Since this disorder happens during the cold winter season, people with SAD experience depression with anxiety due to the less formation of vitamin D.​

Family Genetic History

It is quite prevalent with people having a family history of depression or substance abuse.

Abnormal Circadian Rhythm

During SAD, there is an abnormal circadian rhythm. It is basically the body clock that gets affected due to the change in the weather condition.

Abnormal Secretion of Neurotransmitters

Due to the lack of sunlight, the hypothalamus function gets disturbed which affects the formation of neurotransmitters. There will be low levels of serotonin and high levels of melatonin.

Therapies

Light Therapy

This treatment is basically exposing oneself to a light for about 30 minutes a day after waking up in the morning.

Disadvantages of Light Therapy

  • People find sitting before light as a difficult and burdensome task.
  • Only 27% of the SAD-affected people continue with light therapy after the second winter session.
  • Works only for a short duration of time.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This therapy when compared to the light therapy has been effective for a longer period of time.

Lifestyle Changes

If the above-mentioned therapies do not work out, then we can go for some lifestyle changing techniques that would combat in curing SAD.​

Increase in Serotonin Diet

Include:

  • Pineapples
  • Bananas
  • Kiwis
  • Plums
  • Walnuts
  • Tomatoes
  • Hickory Nuts

Intake of Supplements

  • Fish oil supplements
  • Vitamin D supplements
  • Antidepressant supplements
  • Tryptophan supplements

Meditation

It is one of the best lifestyle changes that the doctors could prescribe as it makes the mind clear and calm, taking care of the side effects of depression and anxiety.

Physical Exercise

Try out some outdoor exercises. The exercise can be a simple 15-minute exercise of walking that increases the serotonin levels produced in the brain. If it is very cold to go out, one can walk on a treadmill near the window.

Yoga

Another fantastic exercise is the good practice of yoga.

SAD is actually the disorder that happens during the winter season, so anything that would make the person move away from the couch and have more movement of exertion would be very helpful.

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