What You Need to Know About Seasonal Affective Disorder

What You Need to Know About Seasonal Affective Disorder

Lauren Pike, Staff Reporter

Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as Seasonal Depression affects about 10 million Americans every year. This disorder comes into effect during the beginning and ending of seasons mainly when the days get shorter in winter and fall. The disorder can majorly affect a person’s well being.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, scientists do not fully understand what causes Seasonal Affective Disorder, research indicates that people with the disorder likely have reduced serotonin activity in their brain. This is backed by research that claims that sunlight controls the molecules that help maintain a healthy serotonin balance. For people with Seasonal Affective Disorder the regulation of serotonin does not function the same as others.

Seasonal Affective Disorder can be experienced in two main ways, winter-pattern and summer-pattern, although they are similar they do carry a few differences. For winter-pattern the symptoms can include oversleeping, overeating, weight gain, and social withdrawal. For summer-pattern the symptoms include insomnia, poor appetite leading to weight loss, anxiety, and violent behavior.

This disorder can go unnoticed and untreated easily since it has similar symptoms to other types of depression. Luckily if someone does get diagnosed there are treatments to help. Light therapy, psychotherapy, and medication are available for people in need. There are also some simple options that people can do like going for a walk outside or even just indulging in more social activities throughout the day.

Seasonal Affective Disorder leaves many people feeling horrible during the beginning of each year. It’s important to remember that it’s okay to ask for help and that there are many resources that can aid people in their recovery.