What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

SAD; which stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder is the name for the condition brought about more commonly during the winter months through not receiving enough sunlight and results in what is often referred to as the ‘Winter Blues’.

Seasonal Affective Disorder typically occurs during winter climates due to the less overall sunlight throughout the day time which in some parts of the world, specifically the Northern Hemisphere can last for significant portions of the year.  It is also increasingly common in night shift workers also for the same lack of natural sunlight.  As less than 10% of the population works outdoors due to modern civilisation, plus the recent expansion in electronic backlit devices becoming an essential part of our everyday lives the odds of feeling some of the symptoms of SAD are ever more possible and as they may not be apparent in the same ways or as obvious to everyone individually it helps to know exactly what is Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Natural sunlight is crucial to humans in maintaining a functional circadian rhythm which is achieved by the Melanopsin receptors in the eyes are triggered by it throughout the day which in turn helps the brain to release Serotonin which is a hormone that keeps awake.  This helps our body clock function correctly so that we can have a stable sleep pattern and not getting enough with the addition of staring at screens late into the evening can disrupt it which causes a number of issues.

The most common symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder is feeling lethargic, having little to no energy, loss of interest in activities that are normally enjoyable and favoured, decline in appetite or cravings for the wrong types of food, loss of libido and the increase of irritability, anxiety and mood swings amongst others.  As they develop over time they can become a common occurrence which can lead to severe depression in some cases so it needs to be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.

There are different ways to treat SAD, one of which is the controlled use of SAD Lights to help you get enough of the light your body needs to function properly.

Submit a Comment