Seasonal Affective Disorder


What does it Mean to be S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder)?

Mood Disorders are disruptive. A recent rise of Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) has shown to lead to debilitated sufferers in some cases. Appropriately initialed as S.A.D., this condition is literally a sadness that overcomes the individual with depressive symptoms caused by no less than a change in season. As such this condition has allowed for people affected by a change of season to develop serious clinical depression like manic-depressive disorders. The indicative signs that one has S.A.D. include a propensity to: sleep too much, have little energy, have statements of feeling depressed and have a general lack of interest in physical activities or company.

Also known as Winter Depression or Summer Depression, colloquially known as “the blues”, Seasonal Affective Disorder is present in people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year. S.A.D. was once regarded skeptically by experts in the field but has already been well established in the modern day. One (1) to ten (10) percent of American adults are afflicted with this condition in certain states in America.

Seasonal Affective Disorder was formally named and detailed by Norman E. Rosenthal at the National Institute of Mental Health in 1984 but it was already reported in Scandinavia in the 6th century by a Goth scholar by the name of Jordanes. This first account was published in the De origine actibusque Getarium (The Origin and Deeds of the Getae/Goths) also known as the Getica, the only remaining contemporaneous resource on the beginnings of the Goths of old. In it, Jordanes describes Winter Depression as a common slump in the mood of some inhabitants of Scandinavia but a notable exception from Icelandic subjects.

These past observations led to modern age studies in Nordic countries wherein it was found out that more than two thousand (2,000) subjects present a trend of unexpectedly low levels of anxiety and depression, an idea which supports geography and season as a very influential factor in depression. Upon further study, it was theorized that a genetic factor due to local conditions, activity and diet consisting primarily of fish had raised the population’s aversion to depression. This idea was supported by Canadian studies where it was pointed out that fish contains docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) that has been helpful in the treatment of various neurological dysfunctions.

Psychiatrists and Behaviorists agree on several therapy regimens to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder. One involves the use of a bright light lamp at certain time periods depending on the subject on a case-to-case basis (phototherapy). Another involves ionized air administration in which the subject is exposed to “summer-like” air when the gloom of winter causes the depression. Yet another method is cognitive behavioral therapy coupled with medication.

There are many theories and practices on how to best treat Seasonal Affective Disorder and many of these work on the subjects. But what is prevalent in the treatment is that each patient diagnosed with the condition needs different living conditions. If only all S.A.D. sufferers would be aware of what their body was telling them and did something about it, they would not be so sad so often.