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SAD is detrimental for working professionals: Dr KK Aggarwal

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 Rohit Shishodia
In SAD, depression comes and goes with the season. It occurs much more often in winters than in summers. Exposure to sun and light is one therapy that works.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can be detrimental for working professionals as it can lead to a cognitive decline with a reduction in mental efficiency, says Dr KK Aggarwal, Former President, IMA.

SAD is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer. Depressive episodes linked to the summer can occur, but are much less common than winter episodes of SAD.

Dr Aggarwal shared that the treatment for SAD involves enough exposure to light, artificial light exposure, sun therapy and drugs, if needed.  

“Artificial light exposure is effective but may take 4 to 6 weeks to show a response, although some patients improve within days. Therapy is continued until sufficient daily natural sunlight exposure is available. Therapeutic light therapy is an option,” adds Dr Aggarwal

As per statistics, SAD occurs four times more often in women than in men. The age of onset is estimated to be between 18 and 30 years.

Dr Aggarwal explained, “SAD disorder is thought to affect women more than men. It can affect anyone irrespective of age. In those already undergoing some form of trauma or genetic depression, this can be a trigger. For working professionals, this can prove to be a deterrent, as it can lead to a cognitive decline with a reduction in mental efficiency.”

Symptoms of SAD include feeling low, a tendency to overeat or not eat at all, nausea, difficulty in waking up in the morning and in concentrating on tasks, withdrawal from social situations, feeling of helplessness or hopelessness, and lack of pleasure in daily activities.

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