Sunday, January 30, 2011

SAD in Winter Months

Seasonal affective disorder is a familiar term during the winter months. It is a type of depression that appears each year around the same time. It is more widespread than most people think.

The key indicators of seasonal affective disorder are consistent low energy and irritability. The reason so many are affected is because of the chemical makeup of our brains. In the winter months the body’s natural chemical function can be a little dysfunctional.

Symptoms like being run down, tired, are often dismissed. It is natural to have low motivation during the cold winter. The specific cause remains unknown.  But we do know our brains naturally produce melatonin and serotonin, which regulate mood and sleep patterns. The changing of season, lack of sunlight, and low exercise disrupt the body’s natural hormones. We need sunlight--a key to getting adequate vitamin D, the hardest vitamin for the body to absorb. SAD is caused by a combination of mental health conditions. Age is a reason some are affected and others not. Like depression, genetics has a say as well.

Treatments are similar to those of depression. However, light therapy is growing in popularity. Information on SAD according to Mayo Clinic website, a great resource for researching medical information.

The Daily Health Report looks into SAD. 

-Emma  Watters

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