Many disorders are reported due to the
deficiency of sunlight and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is one among
them, which is the aggressive version of ‘winter blues’. As the name implies, this
disorder does not last for a year, but occurs seasonally in every year – mainly
in winter time, but minor cases are seen during late spring or early summer
It is found that two to three percent of the
whole population is affected by this and women are more vulnerable to SAD than
men. 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, resulting
in overweight, lethargy, drowsy and expressing uninterest in job and social
life. The reason behind the occurrence of SAD is still to discover, but is opined that the difference in
the regulation of heat and hormone production could stimulate this condition.
Overdose of melatonin- a hormone
produced by a gland in the brain during the night and at the time of scarce
sunlight causes fatigue and lethargy. Moreover serotonin, a neurotransmitter
that controls the way of behaving, might have decreased during the fall and
winter season, due to reduced sunlight. Serotonin level is directly
proportional to the amount of sunlight.
SAD is a curable disease since
patients respond positively to treatments. The first and foremost one is the
light therapy (also called photo therapy) in which the affected person is
exposed to high intensity fluorescent light source (which can be light boxes,
light visors, or light units that emits fluorescent light) which is comparable
to daylight. The duration of this treatment varies from people to people.
The light box must be CSA (Canadian
Standards Association) approved and must be capable of filtering harmful
ultraviolet rays. Moreover, doctor’s prescription must be sought for before
purchasing one. You should be cautious while taking insurance plans since the
cost for light boxes is not included in every insurance plans.
People having extreme SAD conditions
are prescribed with antidepressant drugs. Besides, physical exercises helps to
prevent anxiety, sadness and tiredness. Another important treatment is called
complementary therapy in which specific herbs (such as St. John’s wort that can
alleviate depression) are used against the symptoms of SAD. But it is advised
to consult your doctor before moving to this therapy, as herbs may interact
with antidepressants giving negative impact on body. As it is already mentioned, SAD is a seasonal
disorder and can repeat the same conditions on the next years too. But there
are certain things that can be done to prevent the episodes of SAD.
The first three things are
interrelated to each other. They stick to the vitality if sunlight. Exercise
regularly (in daylight or near light sources is more recommended) to overcome
the state of depression and drowsiness. Though the sky is cloudy- without
strong rays of sun- it is better to exercise outdoor since an overcast
sky is more luminous than light boxes. During winter season, outdoor hobbies
such as skating, skiing, or walking can be tried, so that, you will be exposed
to 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’s
fault 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 of
SAD. Always be optimistic and believe that SAD is a curable disease, affected
by two to three percent of the general population (statistical information).
So, do not be disheartened and oblivion to face the condition, which is greater
than mild depression and should ask for help (to friends, your family ,and your
doctor). Never hesitate to suppress the feelings of loneliness and depression
with the support of social interaction.