Since the start of the current global health crisis, health experts have already warned about the rise in different types of mental disorders, especially anxiety and depression, along with the cases of the coronavirus infection. With the seasonal change, the number of people experiencing mental health issues may further increase. Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is one of the problems that may affect more people than during the coronavirus pandemic.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is one of the forms of depression that people usually develop during the change of seasons from summer to fall and winter. According to the current research present on the disorder, it affects people for forty percent of each year. Almost every person is able to recover and see improvements in spring and summer.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) deems biochemical imbalances as the primary reason for the development of the seasonal affective disorder.
During colder weather, the number of hours of sunshine and light is decreased as the days become shorter and nights become longer. This change usually changes the daily routines of many people and, in turn, affects their biological clock as well, which then leads to the imbalance in the brain.
In addition, a number of studies have also shown that the hours of sunshine also impact the production of certain hormones. For example, serotonin production is usually affected by a lack of sunlight hours. Any disturbance in serotonin production can lead to mood swings, irritability, and depressive episodes.
Therefore, sunlight plays a fundamental role in determining whether the population of a certain area is at a higher risk of SAD. Countries with longer summers, which are usually located near the equator line, are less likely to have problems like seasonal depression.
On the contrary, countries such as Canada with long and colder winters are more likely to pave the way for the prevalence of SAD in its population.
Though SAD is common and was a problem faced by many people in different countries prior to the start of the coronavirus health crisis, it may become more prevalent than before this year. Due to the effects of the virus, mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety are already on the rise.
Currently, experts have stated that the crisis is not likely to end any time soon which means that it will continue to affect people’s lives and preventive measures such as social distancing and isolation will also be needed. Factors such as these are the reason a higher number of people will develop SAD in the coming months.
In order to prevent seasonal affective disorder during the coronavirus pandemic, health experts suggest staying connected with friends.
For people experiencing more severe symptoms, seeking professional help, and going for treatments such as light therapy may also be effective. In addition, there are also other treatment options that can help including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT, o prescribed medication such as Vitamin D supplements or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.