Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is typically characterised by the following symptoms:
- Depression (low mood) - feeling miserable, guilty, despairing
- Lowered motivation
- Chronic tiredness (lethargy / fatigue)
- Sleep problems - inability to wake up and feel alert
- Overeating - craving sweet foods and carbohydrates (bread, potatoes, etc)
- Weight gain - from overeating
- Loss of sexual interest
- Desire to avoid social contact
- Anxiety - feeling tense and stressed
- Inability to feel happy
These symptoms, known as winter blues, are caused by a disruption of our biological clock. A shortage of light may have a negative effect on our sleep rhythms. Seasonal affective disorder is believed to be caused by an imbalance in the production of melatonin, a chemical (called a hormone) that affects the area of the brain that triggers sleep. Production of this ‘sleep hormone’ is usually ‘turned off’ in the morning in response to increased light levels, and ‘turned on’ again at night. The melatonin levels of people with seasonal affective disorder do not fall in the morning, and as a result, they continue to feel very tired and sleepy all day.
The main treatment for seasonal affective disorder is bright light therapy, such as BIOPTRON Light Therapy. BIOPTRON light allows you to safely get the amount of light you need to fight winter blues and recharge your batteries with positive energy.