As autumn is ending and winter is close upon us, researchers warn that we are closing in on the seasonal affective disorder time of the year, an affection which can be either prevented or medically treated.
With a general trend for feeling more downcast during the winter and autumn months, researchers have determined the actual causes for feeling blue and have also found a treatment.
SAD or seasonal affective disorder is the general name given to the state of depression experienced by people during the low-light exposure months.
The lack or reduced number of hours spent in the sunlight can lead to a disturbance in the working of a person’s internal clock, which can, in turn, lead to feelings of depression.
The appearance of the seasonal affective disorder is also influenced by the seasonal change. As the body’s serotonin and melatonin level fluctuate, they influence the sleep period and general mood.
The seasonal affective disorder goes beyond a general feeling of unease as winter settles in and the days get shorter. People affected by SAD are prone to a general state of depression all throughout the period and various other symptoms.
The most common symptoms of SAD include a state of disinterest in the activities which usually caused pleasure and which were enjoyable, a general daily state of irritability, sadness or anger.
A lack of energy, difficulties in concentrating on a task, a state of persistent tiredness and also thoughts related to the futility of life or even suicidal thoughts.
Seasonal affective disorder patients also feel the need to sleep and eat more as the body demands more rest and craves for carbohydrates.
As the SAD usually increases with the progression of winter, it also decreases as soon as sunlight begins to shine again and spring approaches.
One of the most common and easiest to use methods of both preventing and treating the seasonal affective disorder is the use of a lightbox.
The lightbox treatment features the use of an ultraviolet light for approximately 30 minutes so as to mimic and recreate the missing outside light.
The early usage of this therapy method may also help prevent the settling in of the seasonal affective disorder.
Patients who have been diagnosed with SAD or that show a predisposition towards developing the disorder may receive a medical prescription for antidepressants, most usually bupropion.
The early use of both the lightbox therapy or of the prescription drugs may contribute to either the prevention of SAD or the lessening of its symptoms and duration.
A healthy lifestyle may also contribute towards a better handling of the disorder. A regular sleep and eating pattern may help combat SAD, just as going out for a walk during sunny winter days.
Most people either diagnosed or which suspect they may have seasonal affective disorder are recommended to consult with their doctor so as to seek to treat or prevent it as treatments are now available.
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