Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Length: 1061 words (3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Seasonal Affective Disorder


     Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a common problem of people
living in northern United States. People who are affected by this disorder
commonly suffer from depression, lethargy, inability to concentrate, overeating
and weight gain. People from the north tend to suffer more from this disorder
because of the shortened days. It appears, that due to the deficiency of
sunlight some people suffer from these symptoms. The shortened days have a
hormonal effect on the body that causes these symptoms, and the use of
artificial sunlight is the best way to relieve the disorder.
     It was not until recently that SAD was discovered. It was discovered by
Peter Mueller, who was reviewing a case of a 29-year-old woman. He had noticed
a pattern, the woman’s depression came in the winters and left in the spring.
Over the course of years the woman moved from city to city. Mueller noticed,
that the farther north she moved the early the depression. Mueller had begun to
speculate that the lack of sunlight had contributed to the women’s depression.
In order to confirm this he exposed the patient to artificial sunlight. He
found that over a period of time the patient had recovered from the depression.
Today light therapy is the most commonly used method in treating SAD.
The two hormones that are affected by the sunlight, and are thought to be
the cause of SAD, are melatonin and serotonin. Both of these chemicals “are
influenced by photoperiodism, the earth’s daily dark-light cycle” (Wurtman 1989).
Melatonin is the chemical that effects mood and energy levels. In the human
body melatonin is at its highest at night and is lowest in the day. There has
been a study done to see if sunlight has a direct effect on suppressing
melatonin. It is known that melatonin levels in urine are five times higher at
night than they are in the day. It was not until a 1980 study that it was known
that melatonin levels could be directly suppressed with light. In an experiment,
subjects were woken up at two in the morning and exposed to a half an hour of
artificial sunlight. The findings were that melatonin levels were greatly
decreased. The decline in melatonin usually happens in the early morning, but
in a SAD patient this does not occur until about two hours later. In order to
suppress the levels the patient needs to be exposed to sunlight. It is found,
that when the patient is exposed to the light there is a significant decrease in
depression and the craving for carbohydrates.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Seasonal Affective Disorder." 123HelpMe.com. 21 Nov 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=85172>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Affective Seasonal Disorder Essay

- The Affective Seasonal Disorder is a mild disorder most people get only during winter season when the weather appear to be pretty cloud. People normally are unable to adjust well enough in various change of weather. Affective Seasonal Disorder do have a similar effect as depressions. For example, people who lives somewhere northern part of USA do experience lack energy level when they are not frequently being in outdoors. The study group who actively engage in extensive study probably already have the general idea by analyzing more closely on cause and effect of the depressions....   [tags: winter, mild disorder, depression]

Research Papers
925 words (2.6 pages)

Seasonal Affective Disorder Essay

- Did you find yourself catching the “winter blues” this season. What about when spring or summer arrives. Do you find yourself acting out or the ordinary. Maybe you’ve caught Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) which is a mood disorder that is taken serious by some but many others fear that it is simply an excuse for other to bring themselves down. It is not any different from a sign of serious depression, therefore can be life threatening if not given the proper treatment. In fact Seaonal Affective Disorder is a subtype of depression....   [tags: Psychology]

Research Papers
1270 words (3.6 pages)

Seasonal Affective Disorder Essay

- The blues, blahs, and a general malaise commonly refer to the feelings some people exhibit during certain portions of the year, particularly in the winter months. General complaints include: The weather gets to me, I always get this way this time of year, or I just do not like this time of year. The condition, once deemed the winter blues, now identifies as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD sufferers experience depressive episodes during certain portions of the year. Once considered a winter condition, SAD now appears to occur in both the winter and the summer with the symptomology varying from season to season....   [tags: sakamato, physicians, families]

Research Papers
1955 words (5.6 pages)

Emotional Eating and Seasonal Affective Disorder Essay

- Emotional Eating and Seasonal Affective Disorder Emotional eating and seasonal affective disorder are two different things. Emotional eating is characterized by a sudden feeling of hunger, craving for specific foods, mindless eating and there is no feeling of satisfaction even if you’re already full. This is usually triggered by certain emotions that can be only satisfied by eating a certain food. On the other hand, seasonal affective disorder or SAD is a recurrent depression that is usually experienced during winter....   [tags: symptoms and therapy]

Research Papers
737 words (2.1 pages)

Use Of Light Therapy On Seasonal Affective Disorder Essay

- It was a cold winter morning when the boy first noticed the box. It was a white box about two and a half feet wide and a foot and a half high. This box was emitting powerful rays of light and the man was sitting about two feet away from it reading. The man seemed to read impervious to the blinding light in front of him and the curious boy standing in the bedroom doorway. “What a strange box” the boy thought. “Dad, why do you have a reading light on if you have your bedroom light on?” The man laughed....   [tags: Major depressive disorder]

Research Papers
2576 words (7.4 pages)

Seasonal Affective Disorder Essay

- Seasonal Affective Disorder It's wintertime, and you are gathered for the holidays with all of your family and friends. Everything seems like it should be perfect, yet you are feeling very distressed, lethargic and disconnected from everything and everyone around you. "Perhaps it is just the winter blues," you tell yourself as you delve into the holiday feast, aiming straight for the sugary fruitcake before collapsing from exhaustion. However, the depression and other symptoms that you feel continue to persist from the beginning of winter until the springtime, for years upon end without ceasing....   [tags: Disorders Expository Essays]

Free Essays
1800 words (5.1 pages)

Essay Seasonal Affective Disorder

- Seasonal Affective Disorder When a case of the winter blues feels more like depression, you may be suffering from SAD. SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD is a seasonal disruption of mood that occurs during the winter months and ceases with the beginning of spring. Symptoms usually begin in September when days begin to shorten, and last through the winter into March when the days begin to lengthen again. The symptoms of SAD usually include episodes of depression, hypersomnia, increased appetite, and weight gain....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
895 words (2.6 pages)

Seasonal Affective Disorder Essay

- Seasonal Affective Disorder: Lighting the Way Pamela Johnson "Whoever wishes to pursue the science of medicine in a direct manner must first investigate the seasons of the year and what occurs in them." Hippocrates (6) Introduction As the shortest day of the year approaches, more and more multi-colored lights and bright, festive decorations are splashed across houses and yards everywhere. Long ago, in more earthy times, people celebrated the solstice because it was the rebirth of the sun, when days began to lengthen and light began to return....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
1425 words (4.1 pages)

Essay on A Critical View of Seasonal Affective Disorder

- A Critical View of Seasonal Affective Disorder Abstract This paper is intended to be a critical view of Seasonal Affective Disorder. In order to understand fully the biological and psychological components of the disease, as well as its possible causes and treatments, it is necessary to compile and interpret previously conducted research. Such is the purpose of this paper. First, the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder will be explained and illustrated using data and case studies. Second, the possible causes of the disease will be outlined....   [tags: essays research papers]

Research Papers
2284 words (6.5 pages)

Essay on The Roots of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

- Growing up in Alaska certainly taught me how to live peacefully with the bear minimum in life. Hauling water from a creek in the back of my house, using an outhouse in fifty below zero weather, and above all, living for almost nine months with an extreme lack of sunlight. When I lived in Alaska I treasured the beautiful yet short summer months that seemed to come and go with such swiftness. The difference in weather and amount of sunlight that I got to enjoy was just as drastic as my mood in the wintertime compared to the summer....   [tags: essays research papers fc]

Research Papers
2070 words (5.9 pages)

Related Searches

It is not known if SAD is
directly caused by melatonin. We are still not sure what is the direct cause
for the depression of SAD. We do know why people who suffer from SAD crave
carbohydrates.
     Serotonin is the chemical that regulates a person's appetite for
carbohydrate rich foods. A patient who suffers from SAD, and is given an
artificial shot of serotonin called d-fenfluramine “leads to a decrease in
stress-induced eating” (Scientific American 1986). In each person blood stream
we have a hormone known as trypton that is a derivative of serotonin. When it
enters the central nervous system and reaches a group of cells called raphe
nucli it is converted into serotonin. The amount of trypton in the blood is
increased when carbohydrates are consumed. This may explain why many people who
suffer from SAD have an increase their intake of carbohydrates. In testing
results it patients who suffer from SAD when given “an 800-calorie, high-
carbohydrate meal (six cookies), they reported feeling vigorous and energized”
(Health 1989).
     A large consumption of carbohydrates is one of the symptoms of SAD. In
a number of cases, it has been noted that in the fall a person suffering from
SAD will increase their intake of carbohydrates and decrease in the summer. It
is also found, that those who crave carbohydrates tend to consume most of them
in the late afternoon or early evening. A carbohydrate craver is found to eat
1,940 calories at a mealtime. The average for an adult female is 1,500 to 2,00
calories, an adult male from 2,200 to 2,700 calories. It is in the early
evening that the craver consumes “an additional 800 or more calories person per
day” (Wurtman 1989). The increase of carbohydrates leads to an increase in the
levels of serotonin that relieves the symptoms of SAD.
     The evidence all seems to push towards lack of daylight as the reason
for SAD. Little research, although, has been done on the effects of temperature
and barometric pressure on mental health. These factors change during different
times of the year. In his lifetime Abraham Lincoln suffered from two sever
bouts with depression. Both of them came “during the two largest barometric
pressure changes recorded at that time” (Davis 1994). There is the possibility
that the symptoms of SAD are caused by other seasonable changes besides daylight.

     Evidently, the best treatment for those who suffer from SAD is light
therapy. Although, we still are not for sure what the cause of SAD is we do
know that light therapy suppresses the symptoms. The human body needs to be
exposed to the daylight, and our everyday lives may hinder our exposure. For
example, most people work inside in either an office or some type of building.
This significantly reduces our exposure to daylight. It was found in San Diego
that the male spent in a day an average of seventy-five minutes in the sun, and
the female spent an average of twenty. The human body needs more exposure to
the light to regulate the secretion of serotonin and melatonin.
     There is still much testing that needs to be done on SAD. We still are
not sure of the cause but we do have a solution. The best way to help suppress
SAD is by artificial sun lamps, but these lamps are expensive. Many of the
bulbs that are used cost over one-hundred dollars. Carbohydrates are an
alternate way to suppress the symptoms, but the side effect is weight gain. It
has been proven in studies, that those who crave carbohydrates also put on
significant weight which is lost in the spring. Exposure to daylight will
suppress the symptoms without any side effects. The best method to regulate the
hormonal balance is by regular exposure to daylight.
Return to 123HelpMe.com