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Discuss the effect of the environment (light) on one seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

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´╗┐Discuss the effect of the environment (light) on one physiological process. I am going to discuss the effect that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) has on the physiological process of the production of the hormone melatonin and its importance of its levels for the sustainability of bodily rhythms. SAD is a disorder which mainly causes depression. It is a disorder which is caused by seasons and the change in light in these seasons, making it a circannual rhythm. There are two different types of SAD - summer and winter (Boyce and Parker 1988). ...read more.


It is produced most in the dark so production is therefore controlled by light stimulation to the eyes. It has been suggested that winter SAD is caused by too much melatonin production in the winter months due to earlier and later ending production of the hormone, because it is dark for more time in the winter. Inextricably linked the SAD is the amounts of light in ones environment, this is supported by the successfulness of phototherapy - where people suffering from the disorder are seated in front of a 1 metre square bright light to suppress production of melatonin. ...read more.


The results showed that her menstrual cycle did change without light effecting her. So this result further shows that light can effect physiological processes in many ways. So, in this example the environmental factor light effects the amount of melatonin secreted which in turn effects bodily and mind processes, becoming depressed and pessimistic about the future. It has interested scientists for many years that your environment can have such a direct link to your behaviour and thoughts. This direct link is shown by the fact that 9.5% of Finland?s population suffer from SAD, where they endure short sunlight hours and long winters. ...read more.

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