by Serena Carney – Staff Reporter
As the weather gets colder and the days grow shorter, many people begin to experience a change in attitude and mood, this may be due to seasonal depression. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that is most common in the winter months and is caused by a lack of sunlight, it is very important to get as many hours of light as possible during winter. Seasonal depression takes many people victim all over the world.
While the exact cause of SAD is still unknown many studies reveal factors that lead to SAD. Most SAD sufferers have a normal mental health state throughout most of the year, but experience depressive symptoms in certain seasons like the winter or summer. Although the majority of people suffer from SAD during the winter months, many people also suffer from SAD during the summer such as regions with shorter nights. People who suffer from depression year round may also struggle with worsening symptoms due to seasonal depression.
Seasonal mood variations are believed to be related primarily to daylight and the amount of vitamins received, not temperature, because of this SAD is common even in places with mild winters, like Seattle and Vancouver. People who live in colder regions are especially likely to feel blue due to the effects of shorter days and lack of vitamin D. SAD begins and ends around the same times every year. The worsening of the condition can be influenced by numerous factors such as the age of patients, their genetic structure, the presence or absence of a mental health condition and the natural chemical makeup of the body.
“A change in season can cause disruption in the balance of Melatonin, a natural hormone, which plays a role in regulating the mood and sleep patterns according to the Mayo Clinic’s research on Seasonal Affective Disorder.”
If seasonal depression is a concern it is important to see a doctor. Treatment for SAD may include light therapy physical therapy antidepressant medicines and talk therapy. In most cases, seasonal affective disorder symptoms appear during late fall or early winter and go away during the sunnier days of spring and summer, however some people with the opposite pattern have symptoms that begin in spring or summer. Symptoms may start out mild and become more severe as the season progresses in winter season.