SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder may start at any age. However, the main age where it begins is between 18 and 30 years old. During long winter days, most sufferers show signs of low immune system and become prone to more illnesses and infections.
What is SAD?
Seasonal Affective Disorder commonly known as SAD is a type of winter depression that affects approximately 7 % of the UK population during autumn and winter as the days become shorter and sunlight becomes scarce. SAD can be felt via different symptoms including excessive tiredness, carbohydrate cravings, weight gain, a loss of libido (sex drive), depressed mood, lack of concentration, and social withdrawal. This disorder is very often recurrent every winter.
For many sufferers, seasonal affective disorder is a true disturbance to their daily lives to the point of preventing them to lead a normal life. For non-acute sufferers, the conditions are mild but do cause discomfort in their everyday activities. This is called sub-syndrome SAD and it affects around 17% of the UK population.
Causes of SAD
Evidence has shown the absence of sunlight affects the seasonal activities of animals (i.e., reproductive cycles and hibernation). SAD may be an effect of this seasonal light variation in humans. As seasons change, there is a shift in our “biological internal clocks” or circadian rhythm, due partly to the changes in sunlight patterns.
Melatonin, a sleep-related hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain, has been associated with Seasonal Affective Disorder. This hormone, which may cause symptoms of depression, is produced at an increase level in the dark. Therefore, when the days are shorter and darker the production of this hormone increases considerably causing our biological clocks to be disrupted.
What are the symptoms of SAD?
- A feeling of helplessness and despair
- Low mood
- Dark thoughts and very negative attitude
- Loss of self-esteem
- Feeling of apathy and despair
- Feeling extremely tired (Fatigue) making normal activities to be extremely difficult to be carried on.
- Always a need to sleep more
- A high tendency to oversleep
- Staying awake during the day is a hurdle
- Disturbed sleep and very often sufferers tend to wake up early
Lack of concentration
- A strong crave for carbohydrates and sweet food often causing an increase in weight
- Difficulty in concentrating and memorising
- The brain does not work well and as quickly as it should do.
Loss of Libido
- A feel of anxiousness which does not stop.
- Stress becomes harder to deal with.
- A low level of sex drive
- Panic Disorders
- Social Phobia
- Bulimia Nervosa
- Premenstrual Syndrome
- Attention deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder
Treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder
SAD Light therapy is one of the best treatments (Seasonal affective disorder). Exposure to very bright light up to four hours per day (average 1-2 hours) suppresses the brain’s secretion of melatonin and hence decreasing the symptoms of SAD. Light from an ordinary light bulb (200-500 Lux) is not sufficient. However, light emitted from a specially designed Light box at an intensity of 10000 Lux has been found to be effective in up to 85% of diagnosed cases. Using a Light box and products emitting has been highly advised to combat SAD and bid farewell to all those symptoms associated with Seasonal Affective Disorder.
It is advised to make use of light therapy as soon as the first symptoms appear in early autumn and every day in the winter. The treatment is very simple and consists of sitting certain distances away from the light box (depending on its intensity) and allowing the light to shine directly through the eyes. Any device or tinted lenses should not be worn as they would block the light from reaching the retina of the eye. When taking the treatment, it is not necessary to look directly at the light box. The user can carry on with activities like reading, knitting, working, eating, etc. Light boxes are free of VAT when used for medical purposes.
SAD Light therapy is a life changing treatment and will brighten your long winter days and most importantly will free you from all those symptoms disturbing our lifestyle. Light boxes are indeed one of the best “PureLifestyleWonders”.
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