If you’ve been feeling depressed recently, this could be due to the weather. Every winter, a number of people (between 1 to 9 percent of the US population) suffer from a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as winter depression or the winter blues.
As days become shorter, many people experience mild “winter blues”, with symptoms such as fatigue, a desire to eat more, and an increased vulnerability to infection. With the coming of spring, these symptoms disappear. But some people, 70 to 80% of them women, are so affected by the lack of sunlight that they become unable to function. They experience severe disruptions in eating and sleeping patterns, mood changes, extreme loss of energy and depression.
SAD is not a new phenomenon. In the 6th century AD, symptoms of winter depression among Scandinavians were noted by a scholar called Jordanes. Even today, SAD is most commonly found in locations further away from the equator and nearer to the poles – up to 20% of Swedes may be affected. However, SAD was not diagnosed as a medical condition until the mid-1980s.
No one is certain what causes the condition, but some researchers believe that SAD is related to a disruption of our internal body clock. This “clock” controls the secretion of hormones that affect our daily functioning. Without sufficient sunlight, the clock does not reset itself. As a result, we may feel sleepy or hungry at inappropriate times, or suffer from mood changes. Luckily, most sufferers respond to light therapy, which involves exposure to super-bright light bulbs as a supplement to weak winter sun. These may be fitted inside a light-box, which is placed in front of the user, or in the visor of a cap, which is worn by sufferers for half an hour a day.
Add TRUE or FALSE and copy the evidence from the text to support your answer. NO marks are given for only true or false.
1. SAD is sometimes called winter depression.
2. More men than women are affected by SAD.
3. The causes of SAD are well known.
4. Light therapy is an alternative to winter sun.
Find words or phrases in the text that mean the same as these given.
1. not very strong: mild (paragraph 2) /weak (paragraph 4)2. weakness: fatigue (paragraph 2) / loss of energy (paragraph 2)3. observed and written down: noted (paragraph 3)4. enough: sufficient (paragraph 4)
Find words in the text with the following phonemes.
1. Write two words from the text that have the same diphthong sound as “now”. (Underline the part of the word which contains the diphthong.)
2. Which of the following words has the same vowel sound as “food”?
1. more 2. mood 3. exposure
3. Write a past form from the text that sounds the same as “travelled” /d/.
USE OF ENGLISH
Rewrite the following sentences starting with the words given.
1. With the coming of spring, these symptoms disappear.
These symptoms disappear when spring comes.
2. Although the service was terrible, we enjoyed the food.
In spite of the terrible service, we enjoyed the food.3. Why don’t we travel to a warm climate?” said Tony.
Tony suggested travelling / that we travel to a warm climate.4. They came to work here two years ago.
They have been working here for two years.5. A cap is worn by sufferers for half an hour a day.
Sufferers wear a cap for half an hour a day.6. It’s recommended that you use sunscreen.