SAD, which stands for seasonal affective disorder, is the perfect acronym for this condition. Seasonal affective disorder is a type of condition that generally occurs in the fall and winter months – seasons characterized by shorter days, thus less sunlight.
But then again, there’s more to SAD than merely experiencing ‘winter blues.’ It’s a condition that can cause severe symptoms if not managed properly and on time. Luckily, its symptoms are manageable.
Common SAD Symptoms
SAD symptoms can vary from mild to severe, and will usually include:
• Increased fatigue
• A depressed mood or feelings of sadness
• Change in sleeping patterns
• Trouble making decisions
Individuals who experience any of the above symptoms annually for at least two consecutive years can receive a formal SAD diagnosis. Although researchers are still trying to determine what causes SAD, the general assumption is that a lack of light is to blame.
Shedding Light on Seasonal Affective Disorder
How can a lack of sunlight lead to such serious symptoms? Exposure to sunlight stimulates a part of the brain responsible for controlling the circadian rhythm – the body’s 24-hour sleep-wake cycle.
The lack of light can throw this rhythm out of balance, causing the brain to produce too much melatonin (the sleep hormone). As this happens, the brain will begin producing reduced amounts of the serotonin hormone, which regulates mood levels.
Due to this, individuals who live in areas (far north or south) that have less light during the fall and winter months have a higher risk of developing SAD. Other risk factors include having depression or a family history of SAD.
Bright Ideas for Treating SAD
Since SAD is closely associated with exposure to less light, increasing exposure to light, natural or artificial, can assist in lessening its symptoms. For example, moving the work desk closer to the office window can help reduce prevalence.
Other viable treatments include using the light therapy lamps by Bupropion UK delivery at International Pharmacy to try light therapy. These are lamps that produce a bright, white light that can function like normal sunlight.
Individuals who try light therapy often get relief within a week or two of trying it. The following are crucial tips to help get the most out of light therapy:
1. Make sure to get the right light: The ideal light therapy lamp must have a 10,000-lux exposure, where lux refers to its intensity levels.
2. Always start the therapy in the morning: Try to get in some light before 10 a.m. to truly see its effects.
3. Avoid staring at the light therapy lamp: Positioning matters when using therapy lamps. It’s recommended to keep the lamp at least a foot away.
4. Don’t rush the treatment sessions: Set aside enough time for the therapy, making sure to get in at least 30 minutes daily.
It’s always a good idea to consult with a doctor before trying light therapy to confirm a SAD diagnosis. Certain disorders, such as thyroid problems, can sometimes manifest like SAD. If a SAD diagnosis is confirmed, a light therapy lamp can assist in keeping its symptoms at bay.