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How To Detect Seasonal Affective Disorder

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Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD) is a form of depression that many people suffer during the winter months, that is due to the activity of the pineal gland, located deep within the brain. The gland responds to daylight through nerve fibres connecting it to the eyes and a lack of sunlight can trigger an adverse reaction.
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As the sun goes down, the pineal glance begins to release the hormone melatonin, stopping again when the sun comes up. Melatonin is believed to affect the body’s circadian or daily biorhythms.
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Because there is less sunlight during the winter, melatonin levels are at their highest, and high levels suppress some of the body’s natural functions. In some people this results in depression, anxiety and lethargy – symptoms that make up the medical condition known as SAD.
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Women suffer from SAD four times more often than men.
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Suffers should spend as many daylight hours as possible outside during the winter, and in extreme cases, sufferers have moved to sunnier climates.
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If you think you may be suffering from SAD consult a doctor. Most sufferers find that the symptoms can be relieved by spending a few hours each day sitting in front of a special ‘light box’, which imitates summer daylight and tricks the pineal gland into producing less melatonin. Most people improve within a few days of treatment.

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