One Psychologist On What Causes Seasonal Affective Disorder, And How To Treat It


About five % of individuals within the U.S. suffer from seasonal major affective disorder, a sort of depression brought on by the dark days of winter. more could expertise a gentle sort of the disorder.

Kelly Rohan, a prof of psychological science at the University of Green Mountain State United Nations agencyresearches seasonal major affective disorder, says the term wasn’t coined till 1984 by a head-shrinker named Norman Rosenthal, United Nations agency had rapt to Bethesda, Maryland, from Republic of South Africa.

“He felt that he knowledgeable these symptoms of depression once he created this move, and place out an advertisement within the Washington Post: ‘Does anyone feel depressed within the wintertime?’ ” Rohan tells Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson. “And apparently the phone rang off the wall for many days.”

Interview Highlights
On what seasonal major affective disorder is

“Seasonal major affective disorder, or SAD, is truly a sort of depression. the sole issue that produces it totally different is that the seasonal pattern that it follows, wherever the symptoms ar in impact throughout the autumnand therefore the winter months, and that they totally resolve or depart throughout the spring or the summer months. thus once we’re diagnosis unhappy, we tend to ar really diagnosis depression, and we tend to’re craving for precisely the same symptoms that we see in depression, like feeling washed-out, sleep changes, craving and weight changes, loss of interest in activities, problem concentrating, typically thoughts of death or suicide.”

“Women ar significantly inclined, rather more thus than men. a minimum of two occasions the quantity of girls as men suffer from seasonal major affective disorder.” Kelly Rohan
On whether or not unhappy has got to do with lightweight, cold or a mixture

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“It’s regarding the sunshine. The analysis is pretty clear that it’s regarding day length, or photoperiod — merely the quantity of hours from dawn to twilight is that the strongest predictor of once the symptoms begin in any given year, and the way dangerous they’re on any specific day in somebody that suffers from seasonal major affective disorder.”

On teams of individuals that ar particularly inclined

“Women ar significantly inclined, rather more thus than men. a minimum of two occasions the quantity of girls as men suffer from seasonal major affective disorder. It conjointly seems like younger adults ar a lot of inclined, folksin their 20s or their 30s. folks that live at a high latitude ar significantly inclined, though it will exist in American state— it’s comparatively rare compared to, as an example, where I am, Burlington, Vermont.”

On treatment choices

“There’s a minimum of 3 treatments with a powerful analysis base. there is lightweight medical care — use of a tool that comes bright lightweight to the tissue layer very first thing within the morning to style of jumpstart sluggish unit of time rhythms and reset the mechanism. {there’s a|there could be a} heap of analysis to point out that lightweight medical care is a extremely effective treatment for winter depression. medicinal drug medications, a similar ones that ar wont to treat non-seasonal depression, the SSRIs specifically, like fluoxetine. there is a drug known as Wellbutrin XR, that is Food and Drug Administration approved for the interference of winter depression specifically. so third, apart from lightweight medical care and medications, there is a sort of speak medical care or psychotherapy known as psychological feature behavioural medical care that is effective in treating unhappy, however conjointly appears to be effective in preventing the come back of symptoms once the treatment has concluded.”

On whether or not it helps to require a visit somewhere heat and sunny

“It most undoubtedly will. My word of caution regarding doing that has got to do with re-entry. So, folks with seasonalmajor affective disorder uniformly say that they feel most higher once they visit a heat, sunny location, and it’s nearly immediate among a couple of days of obtaining there. They feel nice, they want they are doing within thesummer. However, we’ve got to then return to where you are coming back from, farther north, which re-entry are often pretty jarring for the mechanism.”

On if the condition has been around for an extended time, or is new

“This condition has been around for a really durable. we will see it within the writings of ancient philosophers and physicians, writing regarding the results of sunshine on mood, and even precursor to modern lightweight medical care, talking regarding ‘laying foggy within the lightweight, in order that we will cure their sickness, that is gloom.’ ”

This section ventilated on February nine, 2018.

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