Tag: seasonal affective disorder

As fall transitions to winter, the weather cools in much of the country and the days grow shorter and darker. Many people find that their mood darkens along with the days. They feel sad and hopeless, want to do little more than sleep, and barely have enough energy to get through their days. People who feel down during the winter months have a condition known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.

Seasonal affective disorder isn?t the same as the ?winter blues,? a mild feeling of sadness that coincides with the winter months. It?s a real medical diagnosis, with symptoms that are severe enough to affect a person?s day-to-day life. Seasonal affective disorder is more common in northern climates than in southern climates. Women are more likely than men to have this condition, particularly if they have family members with seasonal affective disorder or depression.

Experts don?t know exactly what makes some people depressed during the winter months. They suspect seasonal affective disorder stems from a disruption to the body?s internal clock, called the circadian rhythm. Shorter days interrupt the production of melatonin, a natural chemical that helps us fall asleep.

Even though seasonal affective disorder typically lasts only as long as the season, it does need to be treated. Like other forms of depression, it can get worse over time, and can even lead to suicidal thoughts or actions.

One way to relieve sadness during the winter is with light therapy. Patients sit in front of a light box every morning for about 30 minutes. The light exposure can help reset circadian rhythms, and relieve symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. For some people, light therapy isn?t enough. They also need talk therapy to combat the negative thoughts that are preoccupying their mind.

Serotonin: Vital Brain Chemical Affects Both Mood and Cognition

Serotonin: Vital Brain Chemical Affects Both Mood and Cognition

The importance of the neurotransmitter serotonin in affecting mood has been widely acknowledged in numerous studies linking low brain levels of this key chemical with depression, anxiety, and irritability. Now, scientists are reporting another significant role the neurotransmitter plays in the brain—that of promoting memory and cognition.

Inadequate brain levels of

Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms You Can Identify Yourself

Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms You Can Identify Yourself

Vitamin D deficiency symptoms have been linked to numerous health problems, including heart disease, depression, and even cancer.[1] In fact, a recent study conducted by Boston University researchers revealed vitamin D deficiency actually affects your DNA: “Any improvement in vitamin D status will significantly affect expression of genes that have

FROM THE EDITOR: Take Depression Seriously

As the Summer takes hold, people often find their mood improves, particularly if they suffer from depression. In fact, one type of depression—seasonal affective disorder (SAD)—is believed to be triggered by Winter weather. It’s thought that reduced sunlight may decrease the production of serotonin (a neurotransmitter that has a soothing

Social Anxiety Disorder: SAD Basics

Social Anxiety Disorder: SAD Basics

People with social anxiety disorder (SAD)—also called social phobia—have an intense fear of social situations, especially if they believe they’ll be judged or scrutinized by others. So, while going to a party may produce what feels like anxiety, a party in which the person is the guest of honor might

How to Stop Depression: What’s Good for the Body…

How to Stop Depression: What’s Good for the Body…

Wondering how to stop depression, and how to prevent yourself from falling into feelings of hopelessness? One solution proven in studies to help: exercise. Research reveals that what’s good for the body is also good for the mind. When you go for a run or a swim, your brain releases

Seasonal Depression: Shedding Light on SAD

Seasonal Depression: Shedding Light on SAD

Seasonal depression usually begins as soon as the weather cools and the days shorten, around September or October, and lasts until it warms up again, often in April. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is most often seen in women, although men also battle it. It has no age limits. Many of

Recognizing the Types of Depression

Depression—a mood disorder that affects an estimated one in 10 Americans at some point in their lives—is a complex mental health condition that comes in a variety of forms, each with distinct characteristics.

“The concept of ‘depression’ is actually a broad category that includes multiple diagnoses,” explains Andrew A. Nierenberg, MD,

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