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Seasonal Affective Disorder


Seasonal Affective Disorder
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Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.97

     challenging words:    affective, antidepressant, helping, irritability, melatonin, phototherapy, serotonin, spectrum, moderate, diagnosis, difficulty, therapy, seasonal, negative, definitely, cases

Seasonal Affective Disorder
By Jennifer Kenny

1     Mrs. Miller, Tony's next door neighbor, was a good and kind person. She was also a lot of fun to be around most of the time. However, for years, Mrs. Miller seemed different in the fall and winter. She appeared sad and did not enjoy the same things she normally did. Tony's mother shared some information with Mrs. Miller about a condition called SAD. Mrs. Miller went to her doctor for a check-up and came home with this diagnosis. Now, with something called light therapy, Mrs. Miller is doing much better.
2     What is SAD? It sounds like a made-up name, doesn't it? It's not, though. SAD stands for seasonal affective disorder. It is a type of depression. Its symptoms are the same as the depression one normally thinks of; however, it occurs seasonally and appears and disappears around the same time each year. To be officially diagnosed with SAD, a person must experience the symptoms during the same time of year for at least two years in a row, but not at other times. This usually means that the symptoms occur as daylight hours shorten toward winter and let up when the days get longer in the spring.
3     What kinds of symptoms occur? In general, cases can be mild, moderate, or severe. Changes in mood such as sadness and irritability are the main symptoms. Often a person with SAD doesn't enjoy the things he or she normally does. The person has a lower energy level and more of a need to sleep than during other times of the year. Eating more, especially comfort foods, is common. Finally, difficulty concentrating and less time socializing are common problems, too.

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