Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) By the Numbers
How common is Seasonal Affective Disorder? Are both men and women affected? Can kids get SAD? In which parts of the world is SAD most often seen? How severe are the symptoms and is there anything I can do about them? Read on for a quick rundown of SAD by the numbers.
If you suffer from the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), you have a lot of company. Just how much? A systematic review of the significant Seasonal Affective Disorder studies conducted by an international psychiatric journal revealed SAD to be a fairly common disorder. According to this landmark review, SAD was found to be present in as high as 9.7 percent of certain populations around the world.
In the United States, experts put the amount of people dealing with true Seasonal Affective Disorder at as many as 10 million people, with millions more—perhaps as many as 10 to 20 percent of the population—suffering with a milder form of SAD depression sometimes called “the winter blues.”
Seasonal Affective Disorder has been found to be 2–3 times more common among people who live in the northern tier, Pacific Northwest, New England, and Mid-Atlantic states of the US, as opposed to those who live in the southern and western states. On the other hand, SAD is extremely rare in countries that lie closer to the equator where the sun shines brightly year round and the degree of available light is relatively constant.
Anyone who is susceptible and is deprived of regular sunlight exposure can suffer from SAD symptoms. SAD can even affect children, although it is far less common in younger people. Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder rarely appear before 20 years old, with the percentage of males v. females affected about equal. In the 21–43 age group, about one in 20 people experience SAD symptoms. Of those, four out of five are women. After age 44, the number of women affected starts to decline again and the gender ratio levels out. In fact, unlike most chronic conditions, the risk of developing symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder decreases with age.
Fortunately, light therapy is an accessible and effective treatment for many people with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Recognized worldwide as a leader in light therapy products with more than 30 years of proven safety and efficacy, SunBox offers a wide range of products to help you deal with SAD symptoms. Our products emit intense, full spectrum light with the UV-A and UV-B filtered out for eye and skin safety, resulting in less glare and greater user comfort.