What is Seasonal Affective Disorder and Ways to Tackle the Symptoms

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder and Ways to Tackle the Symptoms

Seasonal Affective Disorder (commonly referred to as SAD) is a mood disorder which is closely associated with the reduction in sunlight which comes in the Fall and Winter months. The condition was first identified by name in a writing by Norman Rosenthal in 1984. The condition is now correctly documented as a mood disorder.

Fall and Winter bring about dramatic changes in the amount of light that our bodies absorb, and it is theorized, that this reduction in light, causes the symptoms in as few as 4%, and as many as 20%, of the population. The countries with some of the highest percentages of sufferers include Norway, Finland and Great Britain. The depth and concentration of the symptoms can vary from person to person. Some individuals will describe minor sadness, or the Winter Blahs, while others can describe major clinical depression.

Many of those patients will, and should, seek out cognitive behavioral therapy to help them cope with the mood changes in the colder months. Many times, this therapist-based treatment is combined with specific fluorescent (without ultraviolet wavelengths) light therapy. However, it is important to be knowledgeable regarding the specific doses of light therapy to expose oneself to when performing light therapy.

There are many ways that people tackle the daily symptoms of SAD. Given that symptoms of SAD can, not only fluctuate, but also differ from one person to the next, not all solutions can be effective for all patients. However, some suggestions would be to write out your thoughts in a journal, stay connected and social (face to face) with friends and family, get outside as much as possible, and even take a vacation to somewhere warm and sunny. The treatment that ends up being the most suitable and successful may only arise after some trial and error.