SAD

An Introduction to Seasonal Affective Disorder-SAD

Seasonal Affective Disorder (or S.A.D. for short) is a very real health condition that millions of people suffer from. The onset of S.A.D. typically occurs in the last few months of the year, when days become shorter and nights longer. Shorter days mean less hours of light. Seasonal Affective Disorder, is so named because this shift to shorter days and longer nights is a seasonal change that occurs in winter, and this shift to lesser amounts of light each day interferes with the brains ability to control moods in those suffering from the disorder.

Our brains, and especially the part of the brain responsible for moods, uses light, and hormones in the body to help in stabilizing our moods and the feelings we experience. For many, during the winter months when there are less hours of light, moods can become unstable, and depression and lethargy can set in. Although the brain can and does still manufacture the hormones that regulate moods, even with decreased amounts of available light for most of us, in some people, the brain is unable to do this when the amount of available light is low.

This is more than just a case of the “blahs” which we can all get from time to time. Seasonal Affective Disorder, and the impact it can have on the individuals suffering from this disorder can be severe. It can limit a person from being able to find enjoyment out of previously enjoyed activities, or to function on a normal basis. It can even lead to major depression, suicidal thoughts, and other issues that often the individual will need to be hospitalized for in order to receive treatments to re-stabilize moods.

You think that those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder must suffer from mood and other emotional disorders year round. In actuality, most of the people with S.A.D. do not exhibit or report symptoms of mood and other emotional disorders at any other time of the year except in winter, functioning normally during spring, summer, and fall. In fact, there are people whose moods are affected by too much light. In contrast to S.A.D., which occurs in the winter, Reverse Season Affective Disorder occurs in summer months when we have longer hours of light, and the brain becomes overwhelmed by this longer lighting, and cannot function properly to regulate moods? You may want to research Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder further if you or someone you know experiences bouts of depression and loss of energy during summer months when most people are outdoors and active.

Medications, and light therapy are the primarily prescribed methods for the treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder or S.A.D, though many other treatments can also be used, and most often are determined on the basis of response to the treatments being used, by the individual being treated. Seasonal Affective Disorder, impacts sufferers differently based on many factors, some of which are still not known. This makes it harder to diagnose and often harder to treat as well because one sufferer may find great relief from their symptoms with some medication and light therapy for example. Unfortunately, due to the varying degrees of the disorder and its coinciding variations in the degree of symptoms, not all those coping with S.A.D. are able to find relief from the symptoms of this disorder through traditional treatments like, light therapy.

When those treatments don’t work, doctors and people trying to cope with the disorder themselves, seek alternative methods for treating the symptoms, some of which can be very debilitating to the sufferer. Alternative treatments such as Yoga are now being recommended more often for those that have not been able to find relief from their symptoms through medications and light therapy alone. Yoga is a form of exercise that considers the body to be comprised of three parts, mind, body, spirit, and Yoga exercises focus on strengthening all three components of the body to achieve the health and fitness it is believed cannot be achieved until or unless, all 3 parts of the body have been made whole, fit, and healthy.

Still others with Seasonal Affective Disorder have turned to hypnotherapy as a means for treating the disorder, and some have found that it works for them. A certified hypnosis therapist leads a patient through a series of mental activities so that a person can become more aware of their individual perception style and how that can also affect the stability of their moods. They are then taught techniques for transforming, limiting or eliminating altogether, thinking behaviors that have been interfering not only with the stabilization of their moods, but in other areas of the individuals life.

As the seasons change and winter arrives, if you find that you have felt depressed for more than two weeks, call your doctor and schedule an appointment to come in and discuss your symptoms and be examined by the doctor to determine if you are suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder.

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