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Seasonal Affective Disorder – Goodbye Indian Summer, hello the blues

 

We finally had summer… in the fall. Those waiting for the customary autumnal Red Deer rutting in Richmond Park will have been disappointed with the delay brought on by the Indian summer but for most, the latter has provided one or two unexpected yet welcomed barbecues, as well as a more vibrant array of colours in our woodlands.

Yet, as the shorter light hours creep in unnoticed, 3 million Brits have started to receive environmental cues via visual, olfactory and auditory perceptions associated with negative ruminations about the changing of the seasons. The reduction in light hours has been shifting their biological rhythms and altering brain chemistry leading to the emergence of all too familiar symptoms.

Seasonal affective disorder is characterized by a lowering of mood, irritability and a reduced ability to tolerate tension and distress. Individuals feel fatigued and have less energy to carry out normal routines. They demonstrate a tendency to sleep more. They have noticed an enhanced appetite with an irresistible craving for sweet and starchy foods leading to weight gain. Friends become disgruntled as sufferers withdraw from social contact and partners often miss the intimacy they had welcomed in the preceding months due to the drop in libido. It is not unusual for stress-related days off work to increase.

Untreated, this condition, which is called seasonality when milder, has a very high recurrence rate with notable reductions in vocational, family and social performance; a significant proportion also go on to develop non-seasonal depression, namely unlinked to the autumn and winter.

At LPP Consulting, we provide expert assessment and advice to sufferers on the most suitable evidence-based treatments for this condition. These include special light boxes, cognitive behavioural therapy and antidepressant medication, the latter two being areas that LPP Consulting specialises in.

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