Come winter and my sister Anna is likely to hit an all time low. It is the same story of blues that does the rounds at the same time every year. She starts keeping to herself and would rarely crack a smile. Her days pass in a haze of tiredness and there is an increased tendency to binge uncontrollably. No, these are no ordinary mood swings. What my sister suffers from is a condition known as seasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This depression recurs every year at the same time, usually starting in the fall or winter season and has the patient reverting back to the normal condition in summer or spring. A rare form of SAD also occurs in early summer and ends in fall.
One way to treat seasonal affective disorder is light therapy where the patient is exposed to artificial light. Light therapy calls for sitting or working near a device called a light therapy box or a light therapy lamp. Bright light is given off the box. This bright light simulates the natural outdoor light. Popular opinion is that light therapy has a positive effect on brain chemicals related to mood, thereby mitigating SAD symptoms. Use of a light therapy box can help ease other types of depression, sleep disorders and various other conditions. Light therapy is also called phototherapy or bright light therapy. Happy Lamp is the website where you can find the best light therapy lamps reviews with some of the best deals on the internet.
The seasonal affective disorder symptoms bear resemblance to the symptoms of normal depression, but they recur at the same time every year. Symptoms in most people become pronounced in the autumn or winter and dissipate with spring. The symptoms of SAD are quite moderate at the beginning of the autumn and get more distinct as the winter months advance and there is a decline in the amount of sunlight. However, the character and the intensity of the symptoms of SAD differ from person to person.
While some people suffering from SAD may undergo repeated episodes of unipolar depression others may undergo less severe episodes of bipolar depression. In unipolar depression only depressive symptoms are experienced. As opposed to this, bipolar depression involves alternate periods of depression and elation.
Like all other forms of depression, SAD symptoms include low spirits and a loss of interest in day-to-day activities. Other symptoms are:
• Experiencing irritability or a feeling of despair.
• Feeling guilty and worthless.
• Low self-esteem.
• Not being able to take a decision.
• Crying spells.
• Suffering from anxiety.
• Low sex drive.
Besides the above symptoms, one may also be less active than normal. The patient suffering from SAD may require more sleep than normal and may have a tendency to eat more than usual, leading to weight gain.