Research Paper

1290 words - 6 pages



A Psychological Approach to Seasonal Affective Disorder
Daisy Soto
Elmhurst College

Abstract
The sole purpose of this research is to explain what Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is, along with the various causes and effects of the mental instability. After finding the effects, the paper will present some of the symptoms people experience when they become afflicted with SAD. The paper will also explain how SAD can affect ones attitude and daily living. Finally there are various treatments for SAD. I also did some research on some

Introduction:
Seasonal Affective Disorder is mood disorder characterized by ...view middle of the document...

Our heart rate becomes “synchronized” with the light exposure influences. So when the exposure of light is decreased, our circadian rhythms shift, our hormones become delayed, and we tend to run more slowly during winter. (Flaskerud, 267). The most obvious reason this occurs is because, depending on the person, the season they dread the most is finally in approach and ready to begin. Lastly, the most obvious factor is the availability of the sun during the winter seasons. When the sun is limited, the amount of Vitamin D too becomes limited.
Effects/Symptoms:
SAD symptoms can be related to the symptoms of Depression. In an article about symptoms in recurrent SAD episodes the state that, ” Symptoms of winter SAD typically include increased appetite, carbohydrate craving, weight gain, hyperphagia, fatigue, lack of interest in usual activities, impaired concentration, and energy loss.” (Springer, 43) Although SAD is usually known to be existent during the fall and winter seasons, it can also effect people during the summer as well. Jacquelyn Flaskerud says, “In contrast to the symptoms of winter SAD, symptoms of summer SAD include weight loss, trouble sleeping, decreased appetite, irritability, agitation, pacing and restlessness, anxiety, and increased sex drive, along with sadness and depression.” (Informa Healthcare, 226). SAD effects only about four to six percent of the US population. SAD is a more severe case of the winter blues. So about 10-20 percent of our US population suffers from a mild winter blues. Summer SAD is not really that common, so only less than one percent of Americans are actually affected by it. Like any depression, women are mostly affected by this than men. While women do make up the 60-90% of people who suffer from SAD. The age range of people who suffer from it are around the ages of 20-40 years old. (Informa Healthcare, 226).

Binge Eating:
A lot of patients during the winter seasons suffer with binge eating. They start having that natural cravings for carbs. Atypical vegetative symptoms of depression, including hyperphagia (i.e. increased appetite and food consumption) and carbohydrate craving during depressive episodes, are more common in SAD than non-seasonal depression.” ( ). It was reported that 24.4% of women with SAD meet the criteria for binge eating, especially excessive binge eating.

Treatments:
Depression is an illness that can be treatable. So since SAD is a form of depression, there are many ways to treat and lessen the symptoms. Some options include light therapy, which is the most popular, psychotherapy, antidepressants, and even simple home remedies.
“Light therapy is empirically-supported and currently the gold standard treatment for acute SAD, prescribed as exposure to bright artificial light in the morning house, daily through the fall and winter months.” (Evans, 1201). This artificial light act as a replica of the sun. It helps bring the vitamin D back into SAD...

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