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What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal Affective Disorder SAD

Seasonal Affective Disorder SAD

Seasonal Affective Disorder with the acronym S.A.D. affects sufferers primarily during the winter and spring seasons.  The winter season brings less sunlight, early darkness in the evening, colder temperatures, terrible weather, and change of the seasons.

It has been found that many with SAD found that one of the main symptoms is that it triggers depression.  It was discovered in the United States by Dr. Norman Rosenthal in 1984.  This condition is unfortunately commonly undiagnosed and this makes it difficult for people to get diagnosed and receive proper treatment.  It takes approximately two to three years for patients with SAD symptoms to be diagnosed by their physician.  Research by a UK organization called Mind, provides support to those with mental health issues, has found that approximately 10% of the general population in Europe has seasonal affective disorder.  The Cleveland Clinic has found that within the United States there about 500,000 people who suffer from SAD, and approximately 10%-20% of the US population battle with milder forms of seasonal affective disorder.

Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Sleep problems
  • Lack of libido
  • Lowered immune system
  • Relationship problems and lack of social interaction
  • Weight gain and overeating
  • Worrisome and guilt feelings
  • Unable to concentrate

There are no known causes of SAD but research has found that the change of seasons and the change in less light is a main trigger of the disorder. When there isn’t enough light, certain functions slow down and stop gradually in the body.  Add on lower serotonin levels which is known to appear in people who suffer with depression.

Treatments for SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

There are several treatments that have had positive results for most sufferers such as antidepressant prescribed medications and bright light therapy (phototherapy).  The Social Affective Disorder Association (SADA) has found that bright light therapy is the most effective therapy option.  Over 85% diagnosed SAD sufferers have found that the bright light therapy worked for them.  Bright light therapy involves exposure to the light provided from the light therapy box for about 2 hours per day.  The light mimics outside sunlight and has an intense positive effect on SAD sufferers.  Researchers believe the artificial light works by helping the chemicals in the brain linked to the patient’s mood eases the SAD symptoms.

Additional options of SAD therapy include:

  • Counseling
  • Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)
  • Psychotherapy

The Social Affective Disorder Association (SADA) recommends that sufferers should avoid stress as much as possible, get as much exposure to daily light as they can, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.

This Week in Diabetes Medical News

What-causes-diabetes Several recent studies have found various ways of lowering the risk of diabetes and improving the symptoms of diabetes too. A study that was conducted by the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Centre US found eating walnuts daily will assist in lowering the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. Another report through BBC News reports that exercise can be as good as medication as pills are for people with health conditions such as heart disease. The Times felt doctors should prescribe their patients to exercise instead of prescribing prescription drugs. Both headlines are based on studies researchers have completed but they are overstating some of the evidence, as it has been found that it’s better for physicians to prescribe both medications and exercise as a treatment plan. Both medications and exercise have their place in treating the body. Another study conducted in London by the International Diabetes Foundation has found that the diabetes battle is ‘being lost’ due to the high level of cases of people diagnosed with diabetes.  The record has now soared to 382 million people.  A majority of the people who have type 2 diabetes are living an unhealthy lifestyle.  This unhealthy lifestyle is linked to lack of exercise and obesity.  This epidemic has exploded in numbers due to more people in developing worlds have taken on Western and urban lifestyles.  It has been estimated by 2035 the number of diabetes diagnosis will be 55% and it will be 592 million people.

Symptoms of type-2 diabetes

Symptoms of type-2 diabetes

The primary problem is that many people will go undiagnosed for months to years and will be unaware that there is something wrong despite various symptoms.  Symptoms can include itchiness, yeast infections (thrush), numbing, and frequent urination especially at night, inadequate blood sugar, health complications, and damage to the kidneys, heart, eyes and other organs.  If it is left untreated for a long period, premature death can occur.  Many people with untreated diabetes are living in the low and middle class income levels with the inability to access proper health care. It’s important to get a proper checkup to make sure you’re completely healthy and if you’re diagnosed with diabetes then take on the right options of maintaining the symptoms.

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