SAD is not one of those anti-drunk-driving organizations (you know, MADD, RADD, etc). SAD is the acronym for Seasonal Affective Disorder.
As I sit here under my full spectrum light and look out at the gray sky for another day, I wonder if it is truly summer. I am feeling all the SAD things I usually feel in winter – the desire to sleep the day away, do little or nothing, eat like there’s no tomorrow and, well, hibernate.
SAD is the body’s reaction to too little light. It is generally a northern disorder – that is, it occurs most often in places where there is the least sunlight. The folks at the arctic circle may have endless days in summer, but they also have endless nights in winter. As you get closer to the equator, there will be sun more of the time. Less sun = higher risk of SAD, more sun = lesser risk of SAD. The statistics I saw indicated that while 6% of Americans may have SAD, 80% of those are women. Must be our hormones and brain chemistry, eh?
Here in New England, SAD usually occurs in winter. However, this summer has been quite a gloomy, rainy mess and I personally am feeling the effects of that. Light therapy does help some, so I make sure to turn on the full-spectrum lamp as I work. Fortunately, I have also been getting some exercise the past two months, because that seems to help too.
What would help most is if the meteorologists would find a way to get us some sunshine! But that’s one thing man has yet to figure out how to do: make the weather. That’s probably a good thing, in the long run.
So I guess I’ll just take a nap and hope that, when I get to Alaska on Saturday, there’s some sun.
Here are some links to learn more about SAD: