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Seasonal Affective Disorder: How to Treat It Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

With the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns, experts explain what seasonal affective disorder is, and how best to treat it this winter….

While many of us are feeling a collective exhale as the end of the Trump era draws near, there are still many challenges ahead as the coronavirus continues to spread rapidly. The reality is: We have a long winter ahead of us, and for those that suffer from seasonal affective disorder, also known as seasonal depression, managing symptoms is bound to be even more difficult in lockdown. Here, experts break down what season affective disorder is, and how best to treat it, along with depression-like symptoms, in the time of COVID-19.

What is seasonal affective disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a clinical depression that follows a regular seasonal pattern. “The most common seasonal pattern in SAD is depression during the fall and winter months with periods of full improvement in the spring and summer,” explains psychologist Kelly Rohan, a professor at the University of Vermont. According to expert studies, seasonal affective disorder, both severe and mild, affects about 5 percent of the U.S. population, with women more likely to be affected than men.

What are the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder?

By and large, the symptoms of depression in SAD are the same as non-seasonal depression symptoms. According to Rohan, the most commonly reported SAD symptoms include significant fatigue, pervasively sad mood, loss of interest in activities, sleeping more hours than usual, difficulty concentrating, and eating more starches and sweets, as well as difficulty concentrating.

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Why do fall and winter catalyze a shift in mood?

The typical onset of depression in SAD is in the fall, often after the end of daylight savings time. “January and February tend to be the worst months when the largest proportions of people with SAD are at the severest point of their symptoms,” explains Rohan. “The decrease in photoperiod, which is simply day length from dawn to dusk, is the primary trigger of fall/winter depression onset and the strongest predictor of daily mood in people with SAD.” While she emphasizes that the effect of photoperiod on SAD is stronger than any weather-related variable, there appears to be a much smaller but significant effect based on how bright the available sunlight is and temperature, with more sunshine and higher temps relating to better mood.

How might lockdown impact those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder?

According to Erlanger Turner, a clinical psychologist and founder of Turner Psychological & Consulting Services, the pandemic and lockdown have the potential to increase risk for SAD for a number of reasons, including not being able to get outdoors as frequently, which can can increase risk for mood episodes. Moreover, the pandemic is a major stressful life event on a global scale, and people with SAD have an underlying vulnerability to depression and are sensitive to stressful life events. “On one hand, people with SAD are used to isolating in the winter because they tend to withdraw and go into ‘hibernation mode’ as part of their symptoms,” explains Rohan. “However, I believe that the stress associated with the COVID-19 pandemic is contributing to both more severe depression symptoms than is typical in people with SAD this fall/winter and the persistence of some depressive symptoms in the spring/summer when people with SAD typically feel their best.”

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What are the best ways to treat seasonal affective disorder?

The first step to treating SAD? “It is extremely important to seek professional mental health treatment,” stresses Turner, adding that many therapists are offering virtual services online or at reduced rates. “Therapy can help people identify their individual coping plans based on their needs.” Additionally, some general activities that can be helpful to reduce or manage symptoms of SAD are getting adequate sunlight each day or increasing bright light in darker rooms. A treatment that experts often recommend is light therapy, which consists of sitting or working near a light therapy box, which emits a bright light that mimics natural outdoor light. Additionally, natural supplements of vitamin D may also help improve symptoms. Depending on your case, a doctor may also recommend an anti-depressant medication. “The key antidote for SAD is for the body to produce more serotonin,” explains Tal Ben-Shahar, a positive psychology professor. “We can take anti-depressants for that, however the best would be to treat it naturally—by getting enough sunlight.  If that’s not possible, then we can get artificial light or, if that doesn’t help, revert to medication.”

For individuals that do not have SAD, but are just looking for suggestions to cope with the pandemic this winter in lockdown, Rohan recommends the following:

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Artist Spotlight

Shreyaa Sumi: A Red Carpet Sensation with a Story of Triumph

In the glitzy world of fashion and entertainment, certain personalities shine bright, capturing the hearts of audiences worldwide. One such luminary is Shreyaa Sumi, a multi-talented individual who has left an indelible mark on the global fashion scene. Shreyaa has become a symbol of success, juggling roles as an American model, actress, and a devoted wife and mother. Let’s delve into the fascinating journey of this accomplished individual who recently graced the Los Angeles fashion show with her stunning presence.

Red Carpet Glamour at Los Angeles Fashion Show:

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Shreyaa Sumi recently stole the spotlight at a Los Angeles fashion show, turning heads with her radiant red look. The Instagram sensation posted a video flaunting her glamorous ensemble – a short and sassy red dress paired with long black shoes and a chic red jacket. The caption, “What time is it? It’s showtime! Thank you for inviting me to your private NY Red Carpet event,” exuded confidence and excitement. The location tag placed her at the heart of the entertainment world – Los Angeles, Hollywood.

Early Life and Modelling Beginnings:

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Shreyaa Sumi embarked on her modeling journey in India, where her passion for fashion and media first took root. However, it wasn’t until she moved to the United States with her husband Vijai, that she decided to pursue her dreams on an international scale. From that point forward, there was no looking back for Shreyaa.

Family and Personal Life:

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Beyond the glitz and glamour, Shreyaa Sumi is a proud wife to Vijai and a doting mother to her daughter, Sia Vijai. Her ability to balance a thriving career with family life is a testament to her resilience and dedication. In media interviews, Shreyaa has openly shared how her family has been her pillar of support, standing by her throughout her journey to turn dreams into reality.

Awards and Accolades:

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Shreyaa Sumi’s success in the fashion industry is underscored by a slew of prestigious awards. In 2022, she clinched the title of Mrs Universe Asia USA, a testament to her excellence on the international stage. Additionally, she has been honored with a doctorate, recognizing her outstanding contributions to the fields of media and fashion. Shreyaa also holds the Asia’s Women of Influence Lifetime Achievement Award, further solidifying her status as an industry trailblazer.

Shreyaa Sumi’s story is one of triumph, resilience, and unwavering determination. From her modest beginnings in Tamilnadu, India, to gracing the red carpet in Hollywood, she has come a long way. As an American model, actress, and a devoted wife and mother, Shreyaa Sumi continues to inspire aspiring individuals in the fashion and entertainment industry. With a string of accolades to her name and a supportive family by her side, Shreyaa is indeed a force to be reckoned with in the world of glamour and fame.

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Fashion

The Official Look at New Balance 580 GORE-TEX “Kombu Green”

New Balance 580 GORE-TEX

After unveiling the New Balance 580 GORE-TEX in the striking “Black Magnet” colorway, New Balance is introducing yet another iteration of the popular sneaker, this time in a refreshing “Kombu Green” hue.

Determined to provide options that withstand winter’s harshest conditions, the shoe is meticulously crafted using a combination of suede and mesh materials, integrating advanced waterproof GORE-TEX technology, Roll-Bar tech, and ABZORB cushioning for optimal functionality, comfort, and stability. Diverging from the darker tones of the “Black Magnet” version, the “Kombu Green” edition predominantly features an army green tone on the suede overlays and upper. Complementing this, the midsole is highlighted in grey, while the Vibram outsole receives sleek black accents.

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Scheduled for release by the year’s end, the New Balance 580 GORE-TEX “Kombu Green” will be available for $170 USD at select retailers and through the official New Balance online store.

In unrelated footwear updates, take an official look at the Nike Air Max 1 “White/University Gold.”

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