Mock Test 12.3 | General Reading

READING PASSAGE 3

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 28-40, which are based on Reading Passage 3 below.

 

Seasonal Affective Disorder

 

A.  When fall days shorten and winter is around the corner, many people start to feel sluggish, moody, antisocial, or irritable. Like bears, they may feel as though they want to hibernate for the winter. [Crack IELTS with Rob] But these symptoms may be more than the winter blues; they could indicate seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This is a form of depression that appears in the early fall and lasts through the first month or so of spring. It is triggered by the shortened day­ light of the colder months and then dissipates as the days get longer and the warmer months approach.

 

B.   Because a decrease in the number of daylight hours is a significant contributor, geographic location is an important factor in the incidence of the disorder. Q30Residents of Canada and the northern United States, for example, are eight times more likely to suffer from SAD than are residents of sunny regions of the south­ ern United States and Mexico. SAD is also more common in countries in arctic latitudes, such as Finland, where the rate of SAD is nearly 10 percent. It is sel­dom found in countries within 30 degrees of the equator, where there are long, constant hours of sunlight throughout the year.

 

C.   As with other forms of depression, serious SAD may be accompanied by suicidal thoughts. Q31One study of suicides in Japan examined a multitude of variables for each suicide, including hours of sunlight in the latitude, temperature, and eco­nomic factors, among others. [Crack IELTS with Rob] Researchers found that yearly total sunshine was the only individual variable that correlated to a significant difference in the sui­cide rate. Thus, the study suggested that one’s latitude can have a significant effect on mental health and even on tendencies toward suicidal thoughts.

 

D.   Q29SAD usually begins in adults between the ages of eighteen and thirty, and it is four times more prevalent in women than men. The disorder also tends to run in families. Some people suffer debilitating symptoms that interfere with inter­personal relationships and careers. [Crack IELTS with Rob] Others with SAD experience mild symptoms. For people with this milder version of SAD, the winter Q36may bring increased sad­ness or irritability, but they remain fully functional.

 

E.   SAD’s symptoms include many that are common in other forms of depression. Q32SAD sufferers, like people who suffer from depression, experience fatigue, decreased levels of energy, and difficulty concentrating. Increased appetite, espe­cially a craving for carbohydrates, and weight gain, as well as an increased need for sleep and a desire to be alone are other common symptoms of depression that are seen among SAD sufferers as well.

 

F.   The exact mechanism causing SAD is not known, but some researchers theorize1 that SAD is related to hormonal changes. One theory is that reduced sunlight during fall and winter leads to reduced production of serotonin, a neurotrans­mitter with a calming effect, in the brain. [Crack IELTS with Rob] Q35Low levels of serotonin are associated with many forms of depression and can manifest in symptoms such as fatigue, carbohydrate craving, and weight gain. Q28Because high-carbohydrate foods, such as chips, pretzels, and cookies,2 boost serotonin, experts believe they have a sooth­ing effect on the body and mind.

 

G.   Others believe SAD is caused by the hormone melatonin, which is related to the body’s circadian rhythms and can cause drowsiness. Plentiful light decreases the secretion of melatonin in the brain. However, during shorter and darker days more melatonin is produced, causing lethargy and other symptoms of depression.

 

H.   The most common treatment for SAD is light therapy, in which patients expose themselves to full-spectrum lights, usually twenty times brighter than normal room lights, for fifteen to sixty minutes a day. Light helps to decrease the amount of melatonin and boost the serotonin in the brain. [Crack IELTS with Rob] Thus, light therapy has an antidepressant effect. Q8Sometimes, light therapy is used in combination with anti­depressant medication and individual psychotherapy.

 

I.  Experts also recommend some lifestyle changes that help to prevent SAD. Q39People who have a tendency to suffer from SAD are encouraged to go outside every day during the winter months and to exercise regularly. Eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of vitamins and minerals is also important. Social support is extremely important for those with depression, so maintaining an active social life and reg­ular activities is also recommended. For patients who use a light-box, it is recom­mended to start using it in the early fall, before SAD symptoms appear.

 

J.   Although some aspects of SAD are still being researched, experts agree that peo­ple who think they are suffering from SAD should see a doctor immediately. They do not advise using light therapy or any other treatment without the super­vision of a physician.

 

Questions 28 - 31

The text has ten paragraphs, A-J.

Which paragraph contains the following information?

Write the correct letter, A-J, on boxes 28-31 on your answer sheet.

 

  • 28.  a reason why certain types of food may alleviate the symptoms of SAD

    F
  • 29.  types of people who tend to suffer from SAD 

    D
  • 30.  parts of the world where SAD is common

    B
  • 31.  a study showing a relationship between sunlight and mental health 

    C

Questions 32 - 36

Choose FIVE letters, A-H.

Write the correct letter on boxes 32-36 on your answer sheet.

Which FIVE of the following symptoms of SAD are mentioned in the passage?

  • uncontrollable crying
  • feeling tired frequently

q33-hide

  • eating more than usual
  • thinking dark thoughts

q34-hide

  • increased weight

q35-hide

  • unhappy feelings

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  • frequent bad temper
  • inability to sleep

Questions 37 - 40

Choose FOUR letters, A-G.

Write the correct letter on boxes 37-40 on your answer sheet.

Which FOUR of the following treatments for SAD are mentioned in the passage?

  • taking drugs
  • writing in a journal

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  • attending a support group
  • using a light box

q39-hide

  • spending time outdoors
  • traveling to a sunny location

q40-hide

  • talking with a therapist

q41-hide

 

Please click the red words below for other Sections in this Mock Test:

Mock Test 12 | Reading Passage 2
Mock Test 12 | Reading Passage 1
Mock Test 12 | Writing Task 1 

 

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