Sunday, April 24, 2016

Seasonal Affective Disorder may not exist

Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression... The disorder, which like an early snow often first lands in late autumn and can hang around all winter, affects an estimated 10 million Americans...

Combating SAD can lead to any number of treatments, including light therapy, vitamin D supplementation, counseling or even antidepressants.

A recent study in Clinical Psychological Science asks a question that might perplex those who feel their own psychological climate changing with the seasons: Does SAD really exist?

According to analysis of a CDC survey of 34,294 U.S. adults ranging in age from 18 to 99, no evidence exists to show that a change in depressive symptoms along with seasonal patterns. Using a combination of self-reported answers to questions screening for depression, geographic location information and seasonal weather data, the researchers did not find any evidence for SAD either in the general sample or a subset of participants who scored within the range for clinical depression. ...

The latest research echoes past studies that considered SAD with some skepticism. A 2013 published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that people often overestimate the impact of wintry skies clouding their mood. The study doesn’t refute the existence of SAD, merely that the condition is overdiagnosed.
--Talal Al-Khatib, Discovery News, on evidence of absence