As we celebrate World Health Day in April, it is a chance to think about a scenario in which all people are able to access quality health services when and where they need them. An important part of our overall health includes the opportunity to reflect upon our mental health.
Seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression known as SAD or seasonal depression. In the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), SAD is a type of depression, Major Depressive Disorder with Seasonal Pattern. If you have SAD, you’ve experienced the mood changes that normally occur during the fall and winter months when there is less sunlight and may start to improve as spring kicks in. These aren’t just the winter blues as symptoms can be overwhelming and impact your day to day life. Approximately 5 percent of adults in the United States experience SAD and it can last about 40 percent of the year, occurring more often in women than men.
Where does SAD stem from? We do know that it is linked to a biochemical imbalance in the brain, prompted by shorter daylight hours and less sunlight in winter. Seasons change and people undergo a shift in their circadian rhythm or biological internal clock that causes them to be out of step with their daily schedule. SAD can happen to people at any age, but generally starts between the ages of 18 and 30.
How do you know if you’re suffering from SAD? Talking to a doctor can help with a diagnosis, but common symptoms that vary from mild to severe include:
*Fatigue or loss of energy even with too much sleep
*Feeling sad or down
*Changes in appetite, eating more, craving carbohydrates
*Loss of interest in activities that used to bring joy
*Difficulty thinking, making decisions or concentrating
*Increase in purposeless physical activity
*Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
One of the first line treatments for SAD is light therapy. As little as 20 minutes a day of light therapy can begin to help in as little as a week or two of starting treatment. SkinLite LED Mask from Dp Dermaceuticals is a wonderful way to increase serotonin levels and help battle SAD. Serotonin helps regulate your mood by relaying signals in your brain. Light therapy positively impacts your body’s regulation of melatonin, a hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle.
SkinLite lets you multi-task and get things done while enjoying one of the only FDA-cleared at-home LED therapy devices that combines two wavelengths to deliver clinical-quality rejuvenating results. It runs off a battery, so you’re never tethered to an outlet. The flexible, soft silicon construction is lightweight and simple to use. Plus, SkinLite allows for direct LED to skin contact, which reduces the amount of energy needed to achieve results.
Light therapy is proven to benefit almost every system in the human body. Red light, which is popular for skin rejuvenation, has the potential to improve blood flow and oxygenation plus help collagen and elastin production for plumper, smoother skin. As we age, regenerative processes in the skin slow down so skin loses elasticity and starts to sag, become drier and shows spots and discolorations. You’ll see an overall improvement in tone and texture as well as a reduction in the appearance of inflammation and redness. Fine lines and wrinkles will be less visible, too.
Find your SkinLite LED Mask here and help combat SAD: