Seasonal Affective Disorder

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Are you or someone you know cheerful and energetic until November and December roll around? It could be a sign of a condition called seasonal affective disorder, which Dr. Edward Hill tells us about in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Many people suffer from seasonal affective disorder, aptly abbreviated SAD or sad. People with SAD usually feel fine in the spring and summer, then experience symptoms of depression in the fall and winter. Their energy lags, they eat more and gain weight, they want to sleep a lot, and they may have trouble getting up in the morning.

People with SAD tend to stay in a deep sleep later into the morning, and then feel lethargic, drowsy and fatigued during the day.

As many as 1 in 20 people suffer from SAD. Many people have milder versions of SADtheir symptoms are still evident but not severe enough to qualify as a major depression. About two out of three people diagnosed with SAD in the United States are women.

Treatment can be as simple as prolonged exposure to bright light that resets the body and brain chemistry. Some patients need antidepressant medication. A change in sleep patterns may also help.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.