Seasonal Affective Disorder

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Alaskans experiences on average about five hours of sunlight during the winter months, sometimes living in Alaska during the winter can take its toll on a person. The year 1984 was when Seasonal Affective Disorder first became known in a research paper at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Seasonal Affective Disorder mainly affects people in the winter season, but can also affect people during the summer seasons. Seasonal Affective Disorder is best understood as a form of depression that affects people in the winter and, less commonly, in the summer. This paper will help provide a better understanding of S.A.D. and how it affects people living in Arctic climates.
Seasonal affective disorder is a form of
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McMahon , et al, 2014). Another factor that can play into S.A.D. is melatonin, which helps with sleep and wake cycles. Rosenthal, et al, notes how the pineal gland, the gland that produces melatonin, will react to dark surroundings with drowsiness that can lead people to being lethargic (as cited in Melrose, 2015). When melatonin increases and serotonin decreases, the offset of the proteins can cause circadian rhythms to be disrupted, which is the bodies “24 hour” clock. Researcher Melrose writes that “…circadian rhythms respond to the rhythmic light-dark changes that occur daily and throughout each of the seasons.” (2015). People with S.A.D. disorder normally find that their circadian rhythms are off beat and timed differently with day lengths, for example feeling tired in the middle of the day while being wide awake or feeling wide awake when it would normally be time to sleep.
Treatments that follow with the diagnose of Seasonal Affective Disorder are antidepressant medications, light therapy, vitamin D and counseling. Cheung, et al, (as cited in Melrose, 2015) reports their findings with the antidepressant, fluoxetine and discovered that the medicine was just as effective as light therapy. Light therapy is typically used in the mornings to help with circadian rhythms to help set the persons “clock”. Light therapy usually consists of people sitting in front of
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