CausesBy Mayo Clinic Staff
The specific cause of seasonal affective disorder remains unknown. Some factors that may come into play include:
Sept. 12, 2014
- Your biological clock (circadian rhythm). The reduced level of sunlight in fall and winter may cause winter-onset SAD. This decrease in sunlight may disrupt your body's internal clock and lead to feelings of depression.
- Serotonin levels. A drop in serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that affects mood, might play a role in SAD. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin that may trigger depression.
- Melatonin levels. The change in season can disrupt the balance of the body's level of melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood.
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- Stress and relaxation techniques. NCCAM Clinical Digest. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/providers/digest/relaxation.htm. Accessed Aug. 13, 2014.
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