The Effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal Effective Disorder (SAD)

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), or the winter blues, affects 10 million Americans.  There are some people who have such horrible symptoms that it affects their quality of life.  6% require hospitalization.

Seasonal Affective Disorder has affected my quality of life every winter for many years.  I will share with you in this blog the one tool I use that seems to be the most effective in staying the Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) symptoms.  Actually, even though it is October, I have already been using mine.

Symptoms of SAD

  • Feeling hopeless or sad
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Oversleeping
  • A change in appetite
  • Drop in energy
  • Decreased physical activity
  • Avoidance of social situations
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating

These symptoms occur in a seasonal pattern – every year at winter.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Causes

They really do not know the cause for SAD.  One theory is the increase of melatonin which regulates sleep.  As you go through the calendar during the winter months, the days get shorter and darker.  At the same time, melatonin production increases which cause people to feel sleepier and more lethargic.

Sometimes I feel like a bear who wants to hibernate all the time.  I have noticed the dramatic increase of darkness where I live, Louisville, Kentucky.  Tomorrow’s sunrise is at 7:57 a.m. and tomorrow’s sunset is at 6:59 p.m.  Ugh!  I feel the melatonin seeping into my body. I am liken to a big pregnant polar bear denning up for the winter.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Light Therapy

Light therapy is used as a counter-attack against the increase in melatonin.  Sitting in front of a light box for a couple minutes at a time, can help decrease the above mentioned symptoms.

I believe, light therapy was the best thing ever invented for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  The box is fairly small in size but the light it emits is very strong!  Being exposed to artificial light is surmised to affect brain chemicals linked to mood and sleep which eases the SAD symptoms.  Light therapy is also known as bright light therapy or phototherapy.

Light therapy works like this: you sit or work near a device called a light therapy box.  The artificial light inside the box gives off bright light which mirrors natural outdoor light.  So, when the sun is nowhere to be found, you can turn on your light therapy.  I even turn it on thick, grey, cloudy days. Then you can bask in the light as if you are at the ocean or sitting by the pool and feel your mood lifting.

I have to admit, when I first bought my light box, I was a bit dubious to whether it was going to work.  I was simply amazed at how sitting on the couch in the evening with the light box close by, I could feel my mood changing.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Verilux Happy Light

This Verilux Happy Light is practically the same light therapy box that I bought the winter of 2016.  This Light sells for $39.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond  I purchased mine for about the same price at Barnes & Nobles.

Verilux Happy Light

Verilux Happy Light

You may also find a light therapy box at Amazon.com.

References

https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder

Call To Action

Do you know someone you love or care about deeply or maybe even a co-worker that you actually like who suffers from SAD?  Share the blog post with them.  Encourage them to try it out.  Believe me, it works.  I could not get through the winter months without it.

Comments

What do you do to get through the winter blues?  Leave a comment below or you can email me at lifeconquering@gmail.com.

Going Further

Summer Depression – Yes, SAD in the Sunny Days of Summer

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/basics/definition/con-20021047

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/tc/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad-topic-overview#1

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/seasonal-affective-disorder/index.shtml