With the time change, it is getting darker earlier every day. We are heading to the long dark. The days are shortening noticeably and the sun is moving south. A month ago, if I sat in this chair a little while after the sun came up, it would be shining in my eyes, now it shines in the kitchen as it will until sometime in February. There’s lots of trees and a house between me and the actual sunrise so I don’t know where it actually crosses the horizon.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs at a certain time of the year, usually in the winter.
People who live in places with long winter nights are at greater risk of SAD. The farther north you live, the more pronounced the light change and the higher percentage of people who are affected. Although experts were initially skeptical, this condition is now recognized as a common disorder, with its prevalence in the U.S. ranging from 1.4% in Florida to 9.7% in New Hampshire.
Symptoms usually build up slowly in the late autumn and winter months. Symptoms are usually the same as with other forms of depression.
Although there is no specific diagnostic test for the illness, it is understood that symptoms of seasonal affective disorder include tiredness, fatigue, depression, crying spells, irritability, trouble concentrating, body aches, loss of sex drive, poor sleep, decreased activity level, and overeating, especially of carbohydrates, with associated weight gain.
In addition to being key in the prevention of seasonal affective disorder, regular exposure to light that is bright, particularly fluorescent lights, significantly improves depression in people with this disorder when it presents during the fall and winter. Temporarily changing locations to a climate that is characterized by bright light (such as the Caribbean) can achieve similar results. Light treatment has also been called phototherapy. Individuals who suffer from seasonal affective disorder will also likely benefit from increased social support during vulnerable times of the year.
Does anyone remember the tv series Northern Exposure? There was an episode dealing with SAD and there was that one guy who overdid the light exposure thing.
I will crave carbs until sometime in February, when I will crave green things. Until then, I will need your support, and a ticket to the Caribbean along about Mid-January would be greatly appreciated.