Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder also known as “winter depression” is a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the winter or summer.
Although experts were initially skeptical this condition is now recognized as a common disorder.
Symptoms of SAD may consist of difficulty waking up in the morning, morning sickness, tendency to oversleep and over eat, especially a craving for carbohydrates, which leads to weight gain. Other symptoms include a lack of energy, difficulty concentrating on or completing tasks, and withdrawal from friends, family, and social activities and decreased sex drive. All of this leads to the depression, pessimistic feelings of hopelessness, and lack of pleasure which characterize a person suffering from this disorder. People who experience spring and summer depression show symptoms of classic depression including insomnia, anxiety, irritability, decreased appetite, weight loss, social withdrawal, and decreased sex drive.
So, How Do we Fix it?
Bright light therapy, or phototherapy, has been used for over 20 years to treat SAD. with numerous studies citing its effectiveness. Light therapy is recommended as a first-line treatment for SAD in Canadian, American, and international clinical guidelines. The mood of individuals with SAD can improve with as little as 20 minutes of bright light exposure. Bright light is more effective than dim light in protecting against “mood lowering” which commonly occurs in SAD. Replacing your lamps in the workplace with LED versions will have a tremendous effect on S.A.D in the workforce. This is because the light output of L.E.D lamps (especially the daylight versions) produce a much more natural light. It is much brighter and closer to sunlight than other light sources like incandescent / fluorescent for example.