Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that manifests itself seasonally, meaning those affected feel the depression around the same times every year. The condition is most usually, but not always, linked to the change in seasons. Beginning in the fall and continuing throughout the winter the amount of sunlight hours in a day are reduced significantly. In addition the cold weather is liely a cause for staying inside rather than leaving the house. According to The Mayo Clinic the three main causes of SAD are the “biological clock, serotonin and melatonin levels”. Lack of sun exposure can effect the biological clock leading to a depressive state. Reduced serotonin is cause by a lack of sun exposure, which lead to feeling depressed. Melatonin levels can be changed by the shift in seasons which disrupt “sleep patterns and mood,”.
Several things put people at risk for having SAD or symptoms of the disorder. People with blood related family who have or had SAD are more likely to develop the disorder. Other forms of depression are also triggers for the seasonal shift in mood. The farther one resides from the equator, the more likely they are to develop the disorder. This makes SAD an extremely prevalent issue in Minnesota, which is far from the equator and has a reduced amount of sunlight during the colder months.
Treatments for seasonal affect disorder include “light therapy (phototherapy), medications and psychotherapy”. Don’t write of depressed moods and behaviors during the winter months, consider the posibility of seasonal affect disorder