Season Affective Disorder

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SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER
(SAD)

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depression related symptoms in the winter months on a recurring yearly cycle.

CAUSES OF SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER
The specific cause of seasonal affective disorder remains unknown but most research shows that (SAD) is caused by a lack of sunlight which has an effect on the chemical levels in the brain. A few specific factors that may come into play include: * Circadian rhythm. Reduced levels of sunlight in fall and winter may disrupt your body's internal clock, which determines when you should sleep or be awake. This disruption of your circadian rhythm may lead to feelings of depression. * Serotonin levels. A drop in neurotransmitter levels such as serotonin, which affects mood, may play a role in (SAD). Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin that may trigger depression. * Melatonin levels. The change in seasons can disrupt the balance of the natural hormone melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood. * Vitamin D deficiency. Low vitamin D levels in the blood have recently been linked with a higher occurrence of (SAD) along with other depression related disorders. * Gene Mutation. A new study indicates that (SAD) may be linked to a mutation of melanopsin, a pigment gene in the eye. The melanopsin gene encodes a light-sensitive protein that is found in a class of photoreceptors in the retina that are linked to many non-visual responses, such as the control of circadian rhythms, the control of hormones, the mediation of alertness and the regulation of sleep.

POPULATION AFFECTED/PREVALENCE
SAD occurs throughout the northern and southern hemispheres but is extremely rare in those living within 30 degrees of the Equator, where daylight hours are long,…...

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