Call it what you will, from cabin fever to the winter blues, nearly all of us can relate to the simple bad mood and diminished energy that comes along with colder months. From a doctor’s perspective, the more serious of these cases is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, hitting hardest during the winter time.
While the exact cause of SAD is yet unknown, it is treated in much the same way as traditional depression — but research is beginning to reveal more insights into SAD, our circadian rhythm, and how our body and brain reacts to levels of light, especially sunlight. Intrinsically Photosensitive Retinal Ganglion Cells, or ipRGCs, is a long term describing signals in the brain that respond to environmental light. This means regulating our pupil reflexes, circadian rhythms, and our mood and energy levels. Scientists believe adults and children dealing with symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder may be linked to ipRGCs and the general lack of daylight that’s just par for the course of wintertime.
While we don’t yet understand all the moving parts of Seasonal Affective Disorder, technology from bright light therapy to blue-light blocking glasses is helping countless individuals beat the winter blues. This infographic details in the inner working of SAD, available treatments, and the tech that makes it possible.