16.12.06

Are You S.A.D.?

I've been hearing a lot about Winter Depression (or S.A.D-Seasonal Affective Disorder) recently. I even studied it in my Abnormal Psych. class. Basically, it's when a person gets depressed or more depressed in the winter than they do any other time of the year. Psychologists and Psychiatrists aren't really sure what brings about S.A.D., but they think it has to do with the fact that the days get shorter and there's less light from the sun to be had in the winter than in any other of the other seasons. They reason that light, especially sunlight, is one of the factors for a person's well-being emotionally and mentally. I can see where they would think that. I mean, if you've ever known someone who is a complete shut-in, or just doesn't go out of the house for a couple of weeks at a time (I can raise my hand here.), you know that they are depressed. They may not know it because they're used to being in that condition, but every Psychologist/Psychiatrist I've ever met/counseled with says that going outisde-getting out of the house and actually doing something on a regular basis is one of the deterrents of depression.

I never thought of myself as suffering from S.A.D., but I was thinking about it just now and I realized that it's in the winter-time when my eating disorders hit me the hardest. I tend to lose 20-30 pounds every winter and then gain it back when the weather starts getting warm (just in time for swimsuits *sigh*). So, I guess I do suffer from S.A.D. in a way. I have been diagnosed with chronic severe depression, so it's hard for me to determine sometimes when it gets worse you know? I can tell when I'm feeling better, but how do you classify levels of chronic severe depression? I wouldn't have the first idea.

Unfortunately, there are many more people who suffer from S.A.D. It's my opinion that it not only has to do with the limited sunlight because of the shorter days, but also because winter means the Holidays. This is the time when the suicide rate skyrockets. More people commit suicide right before, during, and right after the Holidays than any other time of year.

So, let's talk about treatment for S.A.D. Some Psychologists and Psychiatrists recommend S.A.D. Lamps, which are supposed to make up for the light lost during the dark winter months. According to your Psychologist's/Psychiatrist's suggestion, you spend a certain amount of time per day under the S.A.D Lamp. I know it sounds sort of hokey, but you know what? It really works. There is published research that shows S.A.D. Lamp Therapy really works.

In the complicated world of Psychoanalysis, it seems like something so simple as sitting under a lamp for time every day would seem ludicrous, but when I think of that, I think of what my grandmother used to say to me all the time, "K.I.S.S-Keep It Simple Stupid." She said this in love to me because she recognized in me even at a young age that I had a tendency to make things harder and more complicated than they had to be. The longer I study Psychology, the more I think that most people in that field have those tendencies to make things more complicated than they have to be. For instance, I've read some Psychology books that were so wordy it made me think that the author got paid by the word. The simplest research is the research that is easiest to follow and the easiest to reproduce and sometimes, if you're lucky, produces the greatest results. That's what I think, anyway.

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