SAD is an effect of the seasonal light
changes in humans. As seasons change, there is a shift in our circadian
rhythm due partly to changes in sunlight patterns. This can cause our
biological clocks to be out of step with our daily schedules.
Melatonin, a sleep-related hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain, has been linked to SAD. This hormone, which may cause symptoms of depression, is produced at increased levels in the dark.Phototherapy or bright light therapy has been shown to suppress the brains secretion of melatonin. Light therapy uses a light box to provide bright light. Spending time outdoors during the day or sitting by sunny windows may also be helpful. Antidepressant drugs may prove effective in reducing or eliminating SAD symptoms. The most difficult months for SAD sufferers are January and February, and younger persons and women are at higher risk. As always, you should discuss your symptoms with your doctor.
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