Dr. Joy: What is SAD?

By WEEK Producer

January 25, 2012 Updated Jan 25, 2012 at 12:31 PM CDT

The snow is falling and the skies are grey and you find yourself down and wanting to just stay in bed. Welcome to the time when many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder.

It is believed 10-17 percent of Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which some call winter depression.

Every year, we talk about Seasonal Affective Disorder. But let's see how much you and our audience actually knows about SAD

Seasonal affective disorder can only affect you during the winter months?
1. True
2. False

How is Seasonal Affective Disorder differ from clinical depression?
1. SAD is not like depression at all- it is entirely different set of symptoms
2. SAD is a milder illness and patients are unlikely to experience major depression
3. SAD is just like depression except for the time of the year it occurs

Tanning beds effectively treat SAD
1. True
2. False

What deficiency in Vitamin might be linked to SAD?
1. Vitamin A
2. Vitamin B
3. Vitamin C
4. Vitamin D

What are the common characteristics of SAD?
· Depression, cravings for carbohydrates, weight gain, fatigue, loss of energy, and feelings of worthlessness. These symptoms are all common effects due to the loss of sunlight
· Typically, SAD occurs 4 times as many times in women and the average age of onset is 23 years old.
· Additionally, many sufferers notice low self esteem, anxiety, obsessive worry and an inability to feel joy.

What are the typical treatments for SAD?
· Light therapy is the most effective and usually done with a specially made light box composed for 10,000 lux. Patients sit 10-15 minutes a day up to 30-45 minutes to minimize effects
· Counseling to learn techniques to minimize depression, learn techniques to deal with coping
· Most effective is light therapy combined with counseling and if needed the use of antidepressants

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