Seasonal Affective Disorder

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Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a mood disorder where people have normal mental health throughout most of the year, but experience depressive symptoms in the winter or summer. Seasonal Affective Disorder is often diagnosed inaccurately in doctor’s offices. But, thorough personalized details of the symptoms can help a patient be diagnosed properly.

There have been new studies that link SAD to other conditions such as alcoholism or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This does not mean that if a person has SAD, then they also suffer from ADHD. The importance of this study is to make patients aware that just because their symptoms of one condition such as ADHD or alcoholism are seemingly worse, then it is because that primary disorder has worsened. It could be that they are also suffering from SAD. If this is the case, then it is imperative that the two disorders be treated differently from one another. “SAD is actually a subtype of major depression and should be treated as such” (University of Rochester, 2007).

Seasonal Affective Disorder has only been studied in adults but this does not make children exempt. Parents with children that have ADHD should be aware of any changes in their child during the change of seasons. They may think that the child’s ADHD is getting worse but it could be in conjunction with SAD.

There are many diverse treatments for SAD. Every option seems to be effective in some way but no therapy is better than another. Light therapy seems to be the obvious therapy since “SAD is precipitated by darker days causing a shift in 24-hour hormonal rhythms” (University of Rochester, 2007). This is done by using lights that help your body secrete melatonin. It has been shown to have best results if done in the morning. Another treatment that is used is cognitive behavior therapy. This therapy works by improving a person’s dysfunctional thoughts and negative attitudes. Lastly, doctors will often...
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