How does the seasonal affective disorder look on the map?

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In this blog post, we will answer the question “How does the seasonal affective disorder look on the map?”, we will be learning about what seasonal affective disorder is, its symptoms and causes, risk factors of SAD, treatment of SAD, and frequently asked questions. 

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How does the seasonal affective disorder look on the map?

If you try to understand seasonal affective disorder on a map, you will find out that the farther north you go, the more likely you are to notice a pattern of seasonal affective disorder and it’s more common in the northern parts of the world where there is low to now sunlight.

This is due to the fact that as you go farther in the north, the daily sunlight exposure is lesser in these areas and there are winters for the major portion of the year in these areas which can increase the likelihood of people developing seasonal affective disorder. 

What is Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)?

It is a type of depression associated with the changes in the seasons – SAD begins and ends at about the same time each year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter, draining your energy and making you feel moody. 

These symptoms usually improve in the spring and summer. Less frequently, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer and resolves in the fall or winter. Treatment for SAD includes light therapy which is also called phototherapy, psychotherapy, and medications. 

Symptoms of SAD

SAD symptoms usually develop in late fall or early winter and fade away in the warmer months of spring and summer. People with the opposite pattern are more likely to develop symptoms in the spring or summer. 

Symptoms can start off moderately in both circumstances and become more severe as the season continues.

• Feeling sluggish, sad, or depressed most of the day, nearly every day 

• Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed 

• Feeling low on energy and sluggish 

• Having trouble sleeping too much 

• Carbohydrate cravings. overeating and weight gain 

• Difficulty concentrating 

• Feeling hopeless, worthless, or guilty 

• Having suicidal ideation

Fall and winter SAD 

Symptoms typical of winter-onset SAD may include: 

Excessive sleepiness, changes in appetite, especially a craving for high-carbohydrate foods, weight gain Fatigue or low energy 

Spring and summer SAD 

Symptoms specific to seasonal affective disorder beginning in the summer may include: 

• Trouble sleeping (insomnia) 

• Anorexia 

• Weight loss 

• Agitation or anxiety 

• Increased irritability

Seasonal changes and bipolar disorder 

It is more common in people with bipolar disorder. Mania episodes in certain patients with bipolar disorder may be connected to a specific season.

Spring and summer, for example, might bring on symptoms of mania or a milder form of mania (hypomania), as well as worry, agitation, and impatience. During the fall and winter months, they may feel depressed.

Causes of SAD

The specific cause of the seasonal affective disorder is unknown. Some factors that can come into play are: 

• Circadian rhythm

Decreased levels of sunlight during the fall and winter months can cause winter-onset SAD. This reduction in sunlight can disrupt your body’s internal clock and lead to feelings of depression. 

• Serotonin levels

SAD may be caused by a decrease in serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that modulates mood. Serotonin levels might drop as a result of less sunlight, which can lead to depression.

• Melatonin levels. 

The change of seasons can upset the balance of melatonin levels, which plays a role in the body’s sleep pattern and mood.

Risk factors of SAD

The seasonal affective disorder is diagnosed more often in women than in men. And SAD is more common in younger adults than older adults. 

Factors that may increase your risk of the seasonal affective disorder include: 

• Family history of SAD

People who have a family history, close relatives with SAD are more likely to develop SAD

•Depressive disorder or other mental health condition. 

If you are someone who has other depressive disorders or someone who struggles from anxiety or other mental conditions, symptoms of depression may worsen seasonally.

• Living far from the equator. 

People who live far north or south of the equator appear to be more susceptible to SAD. This could be because of shorter days in the winter and longer days in the summer.

• Low vitamin D level. 

When exposed to sunshine, the skin produces some vitamin D. Serotonin activity can be increased with the help of vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency can be caused by a lack of sunlight and a lack of vitamin D from foods and other sources.

Complications of SAD

Take the signs and symptoms of seasonal affective disorder seriously. As with other types of depression, SAD can get worse and cause problems if left untreated. 

These may include: 

• Social withdrawal 

• School or work problems 

• Substance abuse 

• Other mental health disorders such as anxiety or eating disorders 

• Suicidal thoughts or behaviors

When to see a doctor with SAD

It’s natural to have unpleasant days from time to time. However, if you’ve been feeling sad for days and aren’t motivated to do things you generally love, contact your doctor.

This is especially crucial if your sleeping and eating patterns have changed, if you’re turning to alcohol for relief or relaxation, or if you’re feeling hopeless or thinking about suicide.

Prevention of SAD

There is no known technique to prevent the onset of seasonal affective disorder. You can, however, prevent symptoms from worsening over time if you take early actions to treat them.

You can avoid significant changes in mood, appetite, and energy levels by anticipating the time of year when these symptoms may appear. Treatment can help you avoid difficulties, especially if you get SAD identified and treated before your symptoms get worse.

Some people find it beneficial to begin treatment before the onset of symptoms in the fall or winter, and then to continue medication after the symptoms have subsided. Others will require continued treatment to keep their symptoms from reappearing.

Diagnosis of SAD

• A Physical exam. 

A physical examination and detailed inquiries about your health may be performed by your healthcare professional. Depression may be linked to an underlying physical health issue in some circumstances.

• Laboratory tests. 

A complete blood count (CBC) or a thyroid test, for example, maybe performed by your healthcare professional to ensure that your thyroid is functioning appropriately.

• Psychological assessment. 

Your healthcare practitioner or mental health expert will inquire about your symptoms, thoughts, feelings, and behavioral patterns to screen for indicators of depression. To answer these questions, you can fill out a questionnaire.

Treatment of SAD

Light therapy 

Light therapy, also known as phototherapy, involves sitting several feet away from a dedicated lightbox during the first hour of each day to be exposed to strong light. Light therapy stimulates natural outdoor light and alters brain chemicals associated with mood.

One of the first-line treatments for fall-onset SAD is light therapy. It normally takes a few days to a few weeks to start working and has very few negative effects. Although there is little research on light treatment, it appears to be beneficial in alleviating SAD symptoms in the majority of people.

Before you buy a lightbox, talk to your doctor about what’s best for you and learn about the different features and options so you can get a high-quality, safe, and effective product. Inquire about how and when you plan to utilize the lightbox.

Psychotherapy 

Another approach for treating SAD is psychotherapy, commonly known as talk therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a sort of psychotherapy that can help you:

  • Develop appropriate coping mechanisms for SAD, such as limiting avoidance behavior and organizing meaningful activities.
  • Recognize and alter unpleasant thoughts and behaviors that are making you feel bad. Learn how to deal with stress. 
  • Develop healthy habits, such as increasing your physical activity and sleeping well.

Medications 

Antidepressant medication can help some persons with SAD, especially if their symptoms are severe.

In those with a history of SAD, an extended version of the antidepressant bupropion (Wellbutrin XL, Aplenzin) may help prevent depressive episodes. SAD is also routinely treated with other antidepressants.

Your doctor may suggest that you begin antidepressant treatment before your symptoms usually appear each year. He or she may also advise that you continue taking the antidepressant after your symptoms have subsided.

Keep in mind that seeing the full benefit of an antidepressant may take several weeks. It’s possible that you’ll have to test a few different drugs before finding one that works best for you and has the fewest negative effects.

Conclusion

We explored what seasonal affective disorder is, symptoms of SAD, different seasons and SAD, changes in seasons and BPD, risk factors of SAD, and treatment of SAD

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): How does the seasonal affective disorder look on the map?

What deficiencies cause seasonal affective disorder?

Low dietary intake of vitamin D or not enough exposure to sunshine, have been found to be the cause of seasonal affective disorder in people with SAD. 

What state has the highest seasonal affective disorder?

According to the latest statistical and seasonal data, the residents of Alaska, New England, or anyone living in the further northern areas are more susceptible to seasonal affective disorder. 

What percent of the world has the seasonal affective disorder? 

SAD affects about 0.5 to 3 percent of people around the world, 10 to 20 percent of the people having a major depressive disorder, and around 25 percent of the people having bipolar disorder. 

What is the least depressed state?

In the US, the states of New Mexico, Connecticut, and Massachusetts saw the largest decrease in depression. The lowest average rate of depression is seen in Hawaii, California, and New Jersey. 

What is the happiest state?

According to a study published in the September of 2021, the happiest state in the U.S. is Utah. 

Which country has the best mental health?

The countries with the best mental health are; Japan, Germany, Australia, Canada. 

References 

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). 

Melrose S. (2015). Seasonal Affective Disorder: An Overview of Assessment and Treatment Approaches. Depression research and treatment, 2015, 178564. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/178564 

Meesters, Y., & Gordijn, M. C. (2016). Seasonal affective disorder, winter type: current insights and treatment options. Psychology research and behavior management, 9, 317–327. https://doi.org/10.2147/PRBM.S114906 

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9293-seasonal-depression
https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/seasonal-affective-disorder
https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Heat-map-of-psychiatric-disease-where-SAD-stays-for-seasonal-affective-disorder-The_fig3_249318505

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