How influenced by the “amount of sunlight entering the

How
was the life of a person having seasonal affective disorder? A person named Diane
who has seasonal affective disorder experiences a full of energy and hyper
almost during spring and summer but by the season changes in winter and autumn,
she feels lethargic, couldn’t concentrate, forgetful, and feel exhausted. According
to an international study conducted by World Health Organization (2002), in the
United States, about 4-6% of people are suffering from seasonal affective
disorder (SAD). According to the National Institute for Mental Health (2016),
seasonal depression is four
times more likely to
occur in women, and younger adults are at higher risk as well. In the Philippines, we experience too much
exposure to sun that gives us vitamin D from the rays of it, vitamin D caries
and increases our levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a
neurotransmitter that regulates appetite, sleep, memory and mood; thus, people
with low serotonin levels are most likely to exhibit depression-like
symptoms. It is reported that SAD or Winter
Depression increases suicide rates in icy Western countries. A
psychiatrist and medical director of the geropsychiatric program at McLaren
Greater Lansing name Dr. Blake Casher define the seasonal affective disorder as
a psychological and physical condition and a serious form of depression that
occurs in a seasonal pattern, usually recurring from fall through winter, and
usually remitting in the spring.

What
really causes seasonal affective disorder? SAD is caused by both biological and
psychological factors. Biological factors due to changes in the climate, as the
days shorten; sunlight recedes, decreasing the amount of light that normally
enters the retina. This change in light pattern disrupts the circadian rhythm,
affecting the pineal gland which regulates certain chemicals like serotonin,
melatonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. According
to WebMD (2015), anyone
can get this kind of depression because it is mostly influenced by the
“amount of sunlight entering the body.” This explains why people who
always stay indoors with blinds or curtains covering their window often feel
lethargic. In an article published in 2015 by WorldNow,
KTRE, a
television station, and Debra K. Burton, PhD and
a licensed professional counselor and family therapist, said that even “excessive
cloudy days” like those brought about by the torrential rains may also
cause depression; for people who are experiencing SAD, cold weather, lack of
sunshine, dark skies, short days and long nights can lead to depression. Another
biological factor is family history. People
with SAD may have blood relatives who have seasonal affective disorder or
another form of depression. On the other hand,
psychological factor cause due to having
major depression or bipolar disorder because the symptoms
of depression may worsen seasonally if a person have one of these conditions.

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Not all people who have seasonal
affective disorder have the same behavioral manifestations, but
symptoms commonly associated with the “winter blues” includes
feelings of hopelessness and sadness, thoughts of suicide, hypersomnia or a
tendency to oversleep, a change in appetite, especially a craving for sweet or
starchy foods, weight gain, a heavy feeling in the arms or legs, a drop in
energy level, decreased physical activity, fatigue, difficulty concentrating,
irritability, increased sensitivity to social rejection, and avoidance of
social situations. However, those people who have summer SAD have different
signs and symptoms which are poor appetite, weight loss, insomnia, and agitation
and anxiety. Either type of SAD may also contain some
of the behavioral manifestations that are present in major depression, such as
feelings of guilt, a loss of interest or pleasure in activities previously
enjoyed, ongoing feelings of hopelessness or helplessness, or physical problems
such as headaches and stomach aches. In addition, symptoms of SAD tend to
reoccur at about the same time every year. To be diagnosed with SAD, the
changes in mood should not be a direct result of obvious seasonal
stressors (like being regularly unemployed during the winter). Usually, this
form of depression is mild or moderate. However, some people experience
severe symptoms that leave them unable to function in their daily lives.
Moreover, seasonal affective disorder can be misdiagnosed as hypothyroidism,
hypoglycemia, or a viral infection such as mononucleosis.

In the Philippines, seasonal
affective disorder is not a serious mental health issue because we experience
long months of summer that makes us expose on too much sunlight that brings our
serotonin levels high, however, depression is very rampant in the country with
over 4.5 million cases reported in 2004 according to the Department of Health
(DOH). But, that
number is likely to be much higher, since many of those suffering from
depression hesitate to seek help because of the stigma still surrounding mental
disorders.

In conclusion, seasonal affective disorder is a
depressive disorder that may lead people to feel unhappy and restless during a
specific season and it can also take people’s lives. Therefore, SAD is also as serious
as the other mental health disorders that need attention and treatment.