If you saw the MSN home page yesterday, you may have seen this roll by:
As winter enters the horizon full-force, you can suffer mood changes ranging from mild “winter doldrums” to full-blown seasonal affective disorder (aptly acronymed SAD), all due to the decrease in daylight that occurs in fall and winter and the hormonal changes that coincide with it.
“SAD is a serious condition—a subtype of major depressive disorder in which life can be severely compromised by fatigue, low mood, anxiety, reduced sex drive, and more,” says psychologist and SAD specialist Michael Terman, PhD, director of the Center for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms at New York–Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. “But SAD is really just the tip of the iceberg,” he adds. Far more of us experience similar but less intense symptoms, becoming just short of clinically depressed. And that’s just, well, sad.
Light therapy for SAD, and other tactics, will combat both general seasonal sadness as well as full-blown disorder, Terman says.