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Friday, December 10, 2010

Do you have the Winter Blues? Blog on Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Dark gloomy weather slows down the brain. Dreary, dismal days without the sun may do more than dampen our spirits. They might just impact the cognitive skills of those who battle depression. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), more commonly known as winter depression, affects as much as 9.7% (in New Hampshire) to as little as 1.4% (in Florida).

Here are a couple symptoms you may be experiencing and possible treatments.

Symptoms of SAD may consist of:

  • Difficulty waking up in the morning
  • Tendency to oversleep as well as overeat
  • Lack of energy
  • Difficulty completing tasks
  • Withdrawal from friends, family, and social events
  • Morning sickness.

If you are experiencing some of these symptoms there are many different treatments for winter-based SAD:

  • Including light therapy
  • Medication
  • Ionized-air administration
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • The hormone melatonin.

Interesting Facts: In many species, activity is diminished during winter months. Food was scarce during most of human prehistory and it is argued that SAD is an evolved adaptation of a hibernation response in some remote ancestor.

Higher latitudes seem to have a direct relation to cases of SAD. While Florida only experiences about 1.4%, the northern states such as Washington, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and the New England states surpass 9%. Countries such as Finland and other Nordic countries have an estimated 10% or more of their population affected by SAD.