As the season’s temperatures change from hot to cold and not as many people go outside, people who are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder start to feel the disorder’s wrath set in. More than 3 million people in the United States alone have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is a mood disorder characterized by depression that only happens around the same time every year. This disorder is self-diagnosable and includes symptoms of fatigue, depression, hopelessness, and social withdrawal during the months that this disorder takes its toll.
Some experts are starting to believe that the cause of SAD is not in fact the temperature, but the lack of sunlight that causes excess production of the bodily chemical of melatonin. One method that they use to treat this is to have a home therapy light source. SAD is also treatable by a medical professional and includes having therapy sessions during the seasons that SAD occurs in.
According to Kelly Rohan, a Ph.D with a specialization in SAD, in an interview with APA she says that seasonal affective disorder is separated from depression because SAD patients experience depression only during the fall and winter months and have a full recovery in the spring and summer time. Although patients experience the exact same symptoms of a patient with chronic depression, it is not year round. She says that even though there is not a cut and dry “cure” to this disorder, there is extremely effective treatments for this.
Between four and six percent of the United States population is affected by SAD. It is also more common in women in the age range of 20-40. It was also found in comparison with people without SAD, that there are two copies of mutated genes in their DNA. Another cause to SAD is that the sun setting earlier in the day messes with our “internal clocks” in our bodies.