How the Sun Affect Our Moods
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that tends to occur (and recur) as the days grow shorter in the fall and winter seasons of the year. It is believed that affected people react adversely to the decreasing amounts of sunlight and the colder temperatures a fall and winter progress. Although SAD usually presents its self in the colder seasons there are those that suffer from this disorder during the summer instead of, or in addition to during the fall and winter. SAD has also been called winter depression, winter blues, or the hibernation reaction.
The incidence of SAD increases in people that live farther away from the equator. Statistics on seasonal affective disorder in the United States conclude that this disorder occurs in 6 of every 100 adults, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians, with up to 20% of people having some symptoms of the condition, but not sufficient enough to meet diagnostic criteria for this disorder. Although there is no specific diagnostic test for the illness, it is understood that symptoms include tiredness, fatigue, depression, crying spells, irritability, trouble concentrating, body aches, loss of sex drive, poor sleep, decreased activity level, over eating and weight gain. When the condition presents itself in the summer months, the symptoms are commonly insomnia, poor appetite, weight loss, in addition to irritability, difficulty concentrating and crying spells. In severe cases seasonal affective disorder can be associated with thoughts of suicide. The symptoms of SAD typically tend to begin in the fall each year, lasting until the spring. The symptoms are more intense during the darkest months, and will vary depending on how away from the equator one lives.
What seems to cause SAD to develop is from inadequate light during the winter months. Research has found that melatonin; a hormone produced by the pineal gland, located in the brain;...