Exploring Seasonal Affective Disorder

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Prevalence Rates & Affected Populations One article reported “in US community surveys, SAD prevalence ranges from 9.7 percent in New Hampshire to 1.4 percent in Florida. In North America, SAD prevalence increases with altitude, but the correlation is not significant in other parts of the world” (R&R 2005:22). Another report said that researchers estimated that “1 percent of Florida residents, 4 % of Washington DC residents and nearly 10% of Alaska residents suffer from SAD” (F266). While another more recent article stated, “that the prevalence of SAD is approximately 1 to 2 percent in US and approximately 2 percent in Canada” (K & L 2012:1037). Many of these statistics point to differences in geographic location with different seasons and weather patterns. The differences in geographic location indicate that SAD “is more commonly seen in people who live at high latitudes (geographic locations farther north or sound of the equator), where seasonal changes are more extreme” (F266). The two subtypes of SAD, summer and winter, occur in different climates. Summer SAD occurs more in “tropical climates in countries nearer to the equator” and winter SAD occurs more “temperate climates in countries nearer to the equator” (Saheer et al Year: 237). SAD does not generally occur in countries near the equator because changes in climate and light are mild (F266). A lot of the research also indicates that SAD is more common in countries and regions where there are distinct seasonal changes such as the United States (F266). ¬¬¬ Several of the articles indicated that women and young adults are most likely to experience seasonal affective disorder. One report stated that the “gender difference range from 2:1 to 9:1” (Roecklein and Rohan 2005:22)... ... middle of paper ... ...e inhibitor bupropion have been shown to prevent the occurrence of SAD (Moch Year: 21). Over the counter drugs and supplements such as melatonin have also been proven to have an effect on SAD rates. Many of the drugs were not designed with the purpose of treating SAD, however, the pharmaceutical companies decided to conduct trials to see if they had any effect. One of the large questions that remain in the field is whether the drugs help people. Other treatments that are currently being explored are how lifestyle choices such as aerobic exercise, diet and lighting in their home may help people control their SAD symptoms (K&I year: 1040). There have also been studies that have looked at how cognitive behavior therapy helps SAD patients. From all the studies, it seems a mixture of light therapy and lifestyle changes are the best ways to alleviate the symptoms of SAD.

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