Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that triggers only at a
certain time of the year. In other words, it is known as "Winter Blues" as it
usually occurs in winters. Women are more susceptible to such sadness; other
victims can vary from teenagers to adults.
to build up from late autumn and continue through the winter months. However,
they are not different from the common symptoms that are usually seen in other
forms of depression. Hopelessness, increase in appetite as well as weight,
increased or decreased amount of sleep, decrease in concentration and energy,
loss of interest in work and activities, social withdrawal, sadness and
irritability, and crying are some of the common symptoms of SAD. In serious
cases, the patient might develop intentions of suicide, long-term depression or
even bipolar disorders.
could not definitely establish the association between sunlight and development
of SAD, it is believed that sunlight helps to boost the production of serotonin
in our body, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for the happy and cheerful
feeling. Most people feel happy and energetic when the sun is shining, but in
winters when the days are shorter and nights are longer, some of them tend to
feel less enthusiastic, depressed, and they tend to stay indoors and cut
themselves from friends and family. And most importantly, they start binging on
food. The quality and quantity of light is believed to be one of the reasons
for such depression.
So, don't ignore it when you observe such
mood swings and sadness in you or anyone else amongst your friends and family.
Try to talk to the person or take help from health care provider to rule out
other disorders similar to SAD. A simple physical and a blood test would take
care of that.
treatment, talk therapy and anti-depressant medications are the best ways to
control SAD. Talking about feelings and being around people who are caring and
have positive attitude magically alleviates depression. At home, one can try
getting enough sleep, eat healthy food and learn to watch the early signs of
depression. Exercise also helps to keep SAD at bay. Try involving in hobbies
and activities that keeps you happy. It is important to practice good sleeping
habits to prevent depression of any kind and keep yourself active and alert.
illegal drugs are bound to make depression worse, and might also develop
intentions of suicide in the person. Talking about feelings and being around
people who are caring and positive magically cures depression.
Light therapy is
another way to cure SAD. In such treatments, the person is imposed to a very
bright light (10,000 lux) that mimics the light from sun rays. It works best
when if started in the early winters, before the symptoms of SAD begin again.
However, there are certain side-effects such as eye strain and headache that
come with this therapy. Hence, one should opt for this therapy only when the
case is sensitive or when the doctors permits.
long ago proved that the short wavelength light (blue) of the white light
therapy stimulates acute melatonin suppression and circadian phase shifting,
thus effectively treating SAD. In their study published in the journal
Biological Psychiatry, neurologists from the Thomas Jefferson University,
Philadelphia, found that narrow bandwidth blue light is better than red light
in reversing symptoms of major depression with a seasonal pattern.
shown that preventive treatment with bupropion XL reduces the rate of
depressive episodes. However, psychiatrists from Lund University Hospital,
Sweden, opine - 'Given the limitations in the evidence base and the
inconsistent recurrence rate of winter depressive episodes, clinical
recommendations for long-term and preventative treatment must individualize
treatment choices and weigh potential benefits against possible adverse
But what you can
definitely do is, with the onset of winters, fight depression by being
determined to stay positive and happy, as nothing in the world can defeat a
strong will and brave heart.