Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) also known as seasonal depression is considered a mood disorder of persons who have normal mental health throughout most of the year, but are experiencing depressive symptoms during rainy season. Statistics shows that this disorder occurs in about 5% of adults. It is about four times more common in women than men. People of all ages can develop seasonal affective disorder, especially those who are living farther away from the equator. It seems to develop from inadequate bright light during the rainy months. Researchers have found that bright light changes the chemicals in the brain. Exactly how this occurs and the details of its effects are still being studied.
In the past months, we have experienced heavy rain fall because of the monsoon. This caused insufficient sunlight in a number of days. Could this heavy rain trigger SAD syndrome in the Philippines? Is an outbreak approaching? Well I have good news for you: an outbreak in our country is pretty slim. SAD syndrome is a rare case in our country. Nevertheless here are some points and tips on how to spot symptoms and possible treatments.
Symptoms usually build up slowly during the rainy months (June to September) and are usually the same as with other forms of depression, such as: increased appetite with weight gain, less energy and ability to concentrate, loss of interest in work or other activities, sluggish movements, social withdrawal, unhappiness and irritability.
Those who happened to be experiencing symptoms of SAD are advised to get enough sleep, have a healthy diet, exercise more often and most of all, try to have a positive out-look in life. This would be more effective with the support of one’s family and friends. Moreover, help from specialists is needed in worse cases.
SAD may lead to suicidal instances if not treated, but we can easily avoid or prevent it? Let us always keep our minds open for the possibility that some people we know might have and placidly suffering from it. On the brighter side, We, Filipinos can easily kick depression out of our front door. We are naturally a happy race, and not even heavy rain can stop us from being happy.
Remember during our Intramurals unexpected rain came, but did that stop the cheer dance competitors? No! They danced their way through the downfall. The point is, we should not let this syndrome put our life into a halt. Don’t be afraid, and don’t allow it to take a hold of your life.
So next time SAD syndrome knocks on your door, easily say “Get lost!” Because you’re going to play in the rain. (Mawie Luis Javier)