SAD is caused by sunlight deprivation which can cause a neurochemical imbalance in the brain. A diagnosis can be made after three or more consecutive winters where the symptoms, including a number of the following, continue to recur. Usually desire to oversleep and difficulty staying awake but in some cases, disturbed sleep and early morning wakening Lethargy:
The sun sets before we go home, and the cold coops us up except for runs to the grocery store. All of this amounts to something known informally as the winter blues, because those wintry days and dead trees can put us in a glum mood.
But in the s, research at the National Institutes of Mental Health led to recognition of a form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder shortened, of course, to SAD.
Treatment ranges from psychotherapy to antidepressants to light therapy — large boxes filled with lightbulbs that look like tanning beds for your face. However, a recent study questions the existence of seasonal depression entirely. Each year, the Centers for Disease Control conducts a large cross-sectional study of the US population.
A group of researchers realized they could use the CDC results independently to investigate how much depression changes by season. The version of the CDC study included a set of questions typically used to screen for depression. By analyzing the answers gathered from 34, adults over the course of the year, the researchers might detect flareups of seasonal affective disorder.
They might see wintertime surges in depression. There could be an overall increase in reported depressive symptoms at northernmost latitudes if low light exposure is what brings about a cycle of the depression. After all, light seems to be key. The development of artificial light therapies for SAD patients has relied on links between increased light and increased mood.
For those living with SAD, both season and latitude should vary in light levels and interact with depressive symptoms. Megan Traffanstedt and Dr. LoBello, in collaboration with Dr.
The researchers also looked to see if high latitudes combined with the winter season to raise the frequency of depressed answers more than high latitude or winter alone. Hours of sunlight at a given location and date are available from the U.
Naval Observatory, so the researchers even tested for links between depression scores and hours of sunlight on the day a score was collected. If light is responsible for SAD, then looking at hours of sunlight should be a sensitive way to detect people with SAD among the general population, they thought.
Instead, the CDC survey revealed no evidence for seasonal affective disorder. The researchers were wary of overlooking SAD trends among the huge non-SAD population, so they reanalyzed answers from a subset of people who classified as depressed at the time of the survey.
Still no sign of SAD. No seasonal or light-dependent increases appeared in the depression measures. We might wonder if something was wrong with the phone study, but other well-established trends appeared in the survey data, such as higher rates of depression for women and the unemployed.
The fluctuation in depression from SAD was either nonexistent or undetectable. As you might expect, other researchers have also asked how SAD plays out across the seasons and if it is more common in countries at different latitudes.
The results are mixedand these studies seem to face two problems. One problem lies with the questions being asked. Those questions typically used to screen for SAD, while very specific, are also incredibly leading.
Imagine you are answering a battery of questions about how your mood, weight, appetite vary over the year, then filling out charts to compare your habits over the the seasons.
You are asked to consider at which time of the year you gain or lose weight, sleep or eat less. Using this standard assessment for SAD, you might reconsider whether you have a yearly mood cycle after all.
The CDC telephone survey did not ask the usual SAD questions but relied on eight questions commonly used to screen for major depression. These questions ask about topics not covered in standard SAD assessments — hopelessness, lack of pleasure in activities, trouble concentrating — and concern the past two weeks rather than the past fifty-two.
It is much easier to recall how you felt in the recent past than to remember how you felt last October.
Our memories can smudge and blot over time, especially if we expect a certain pattern. This introduces another problem with SAD studies: Our preconceptions are always hard at workso survey data collected without any mention of seasonal mood disorders is a safer bet for avoiding biases.
A person experiencing major depression episodes in the winter might need therapy for SAD or they might need therapy to cope with holiday-time stresses.The following articles are culled from Alternative Medicine Review, the premier alt-med srmvision.com of these articles recommend nutritional supplementation as a component of case management.
Please refer to our Nutrition Section for more information regarding specific nutrients of interest.
Search the Alt-Med Section Please read our Nutrition Disclaimer. Bipolar disorder, previously known as manic depression, is a mental disorder that causes periods of depression and periods of abnormally elevated mood.
The elevated mood is significant and is known as mania or hypomania, depending on its severity, or whether symptoms of psychosis are present. During mania, an individual behaves or feels abnormally energetic, happy, or irritable. SAD research papers explain the disorder as a form of depression that is associated with biological rhythms and affects people in a variety of ways.
Seasonal Affective Disorder and other psychological disorder research at Paper Masters.
References: The following are research examples found in Social Work Abstracts, an NASW publication which culls behavioral and social science literature.
A search for “depression and social work” yielded articles published between and Affective Deprivation Disorder Maxine Aston: Affective Deprivation Disorder (AfDD) is a relational disorder resulting from the emotional deprivation sometimes experienced by the partner (or child) of persons with a low emotional/empathic quotient or srmvision.com by researcher Maxine Aston, AfDD was first applied to partners of adults with Asperger Syndrome, many of whom showed disturbing.
Seasonal Affective Disorder research papers explain the disorder as a form of depression that is associated with biological rhythms. SAD research papers and other mood disorders available at Paper Masters.