Many parts of the United States has recenlty been hit with snow, rain or just plain cold temperature. It’s also when people are really feeling SAD. And by SAD I mean their Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Recognizing the Onset of SAD
Are your mood swings more aggravated during winter? Do you feel a deep sense of unexplained sadness? Do you experience a change in your sleeping patterns, such as sleeping for longer periods of time, or not being able to sleep? Do you seem to put on weight or lose weight during winter?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you could be suffering from SAD. The symptoms of depression begin to manifest towards the end of the fall season and escalate as winter begins. Gradually, your mood takes a turn for the worst, but they disappear during the spring and summer. This type of depression is not triggered by a traumatic incident, which gives psychiatrists a specific issue to pinpoint and tackle, but is unexplainable.
If you think you have SAD you should talk to your doctor, in order to be diagnosed by a doctor, you usually have to have had the same symptoms for three years in a row.
What is the Underlying Cause of SAD?
After years of studying SAD, doctors have proven evidence that the lack of sunlight is the main cause of SAD. In recent studies, doctors have found that a person’s genes, hormones, age, and physiological factors may also play a role in making a person more susceptible to developing SAD.
The production of melatonin happens during the night, and when the nights are long, our bodies produce an increased amount of melatonin, causing the onset of depression. In turn, depression interrupts our sleep and thus the production of serotonin – the brain chemical that affects our ability to feel pleasure – is whittled down.
Finding a Cure for SAD
Light is an effective form of treatment for SAD. It is often referred to as bright light therapy, which utilizes light therapy boxes to provide broad spectrum lightning that replicates daylight. You will need to sit at 24 inches from a uniquely-designed bright light therapy box that emits 10,000 lux. The treatment lasts for 30 minutes and should be done within the first hour of getting up in the morning.
Sunlight and warmth go hand in hand. In researching the need for additional light, doctors found that warmth also has a positive effect on combating SAD. It’s not necessary to turn up the heat in the entire home with costly energy. Just get cozy by bundling up in your warmest clothes and using a portable heater. A nice roaring fire is also a great way to keep warm by also adding additional light to your brightly lit home.
Lack of sunlight decreases the amount of Vitamin D that is found in our blood. Through blood tests done on people suffering from SAD, it was found that their bodies were deficient in Vitamin D. Taking a daily dose of Vitamin D can counter the symptoms of SAD as it alleviates fatigue and depression naturally. It can be taken as a dietary pill supplement, or through the food you eat, such as some warm hot chocolate made with fortified Vitamin D milk.
So get rid of your winter blues and embrace the winter season the way it was meant to be enjoyed. Take action and practice the benefits that can help you defeat SAD.