Seasonal Affective Disorders (SAD) Survey

During Autumn and Winter, a lot of people feel sad or down, due to the low temperatures and shorter days. However, for some people, this can turn into a subtype of clinical depression that lasts throughout the fall and winter months. This is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

What are the symptoms of SAD?

  • Mild depression
  • Anxiety
  • Decreased activity
  • Social withdrawal
  • Increased sleep duration
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight gain
  • Carbohydrate craving

Who suffers from SAD?

  • 10% of general population
  • Most common in people who are treated for depression
  • Most common in higher latitudes, where winter days are a lot shorter than closer to the equator
  • Occurs more in woman than in men
  • SAD may run in families, which suggests that it could be genetic
  • Occurrence of SAD lessons after the age of 55 years

What Causes SAD?

  • 24-hour sleep-wake cycle, circadian rhythm, caused by the rise and fall of hormones–melatonin
  • Melatonin is the master sleep hormone, produced in the pineal gland
  • The sleep-wake pattern depends on how well the functioning of the internal circadian clock works, deep in the brain.
  • It works with photo sensors in the eyes to sense darkness
  • The body begins to produce melatonin when darkness falls, one of the factors that cause you to sleep.
  • Melatonin is secreted throughout the night, at dawn it decreases and gradually diminishes – causing you to wakefulness in the morning.
  • When there is a problem with this system, sleep disorders and psychological problems can occur.

Read more about Seasonal Affective Disorders (SAD) and recommended treatment.


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