Psychotherapy Visits in Autumn
SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), known as "winter blues," is a medical condition that occurs at certain times of the year. SAD occurs in 0.5 to 3% of the general population and is four times more common in women than men.
PREVALENCE OF MENTAL ILLNESS
- According to Our Word in Data, in 2017, 970 million individuals were affected by mental disorders where the most prevalent disorder was anxiety disorder, affecting 4% of the entire population. In addition, 17.34% of the United States population suffered from mental disorders in 2017.
- In a recent National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) study for 2018, 19.1% of adults in the US, or 47.6 million people experience mental illness each year.
- In the US, the most prevalent medical condition is anxiety disorders.
MENTAL HEALTH PATIENTS: RECEIVING TREATMENT (DEMOGRAPHICS)
- NAMI reported that 43.3% of US adults received treatment for mental illness in 2018.
- 50.6% of US individuals aged between 6 to 17 years old received treatment for mental health disorders in 2016.
- The annual treatment by gender shows that 48.6% of females, 34.9% of males, and 48.5% of Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual, received treatment in 2018.
- The onset delay "between the onset of mental illness symptoms and treatment" is 11 years.
MENTAL HEALTH VISITS
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mental health-related visits by US individuals ages 18 years and older show the following: 693 per 10,000 adults on psychiatrist visits, 397 per 10,000 adults on primary care physicians, and 162 per 10,000 adults on other mental health specialists.
- For mental health-related visits, it shows that the psychiatrist visit rate is higher than that of visits to primary care physicians.
SAD (SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER) OVERVIEW
- According to Psychology Today, "Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a mental condition under major depressive disorder in which occurs during the same season each year.
- SAD is also known as "winter blues" that is usually experienced during fall or winter/autumn.
- SAD is commonly manifested during the age of 20s to 30s.
- Winter/autumn blues symptoms include "weight gain, thoughts of suicide, sadness and hopelessness, low energy level, irritability, among others. While summer blues symptoms include weight loss, insomnia, poor appetite, and anxiety."
- While typical SAD patients experience mild or moderate depression, however, a few may experience severe symptoms that would affect their ability to function in their day to day lives.
- According to the National Institute of Health, SAD exists in 0.5% to 3% of the general population and affects 10-20% of major depressive disorder patients and 25% of bipolar disorder patients.
- According to Psychology Today, approximately 10 million US adults are affected by SAD, while 10-20% have mild SAD.
- Seasonal affective disorder is "four times more common in women than in men."
- Most people with SAD have at least one relative with severe depressive disorder or alcohol abuse.
POTENTIAL INCREASE IN VISITS DURING AUTUMN/FALL
- According to WebMD, the exact cause of SAD occurrence among individuals is still unknown. Some experts believed that it could be due to hormonal changes or a seasonal brain stressor at a specific time of the year; however, one theory pertaining to sunlight has been observed.
- Based on this, during winter and fall, there is little sunlight that hinders the secretion of serotonin. Serotonin is a gland that regulates the mood; thus, if this does not function normally, a feeling of depression occurs.
- The lack of sunlight during this season is said to be related to SAD.
- This theory is corroborated in this report, where it states that not enough sunlight exposure is associated with a higher risk of SAD and that depression can be triggered by this season.
- Light therapy or phototherapy is one of the main treatments where it mimics natural sunlight that can stimulate the brain.
- The above findings show that winter/fall could lead to a potential increase in visits because this is the time/season in which SAD occurs.