Treat Seasonal Affective Disorder
We have reached that time of year when the wind has a bitter chill, the leaves are dropping, and everyone is getting ready for the holidays. Everyone is bustling around and there are exciting events to look forward too – unless you have Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). If you have ever experienced S.A.D. then you know this time of year can cause a lot of issues. This disorder can cause you to feel like you want to hide until the weather warms up.
WHAT IS SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER?
Everyone has been sad at one point in his or her lives. Seasonal Affective Disorder happens yearly when the weather turns cold. The symptoms will begin to show mid to late fall; yet during the summer you feel normal.
Since this type of depression is fleeting, you might start to think it never happened. It is a very real and serious condition that can cause problems in your life.
It has not been determined what causes S.A.D., but we do know that the lack of sunlight during these seasons is involved.
- Melatonin: a hormone that affects your sleep and mood. Melatonin levels can change with the season and may contribute to your depression.
- Serotonin: this chemical is directly affected by the amount of sunlight you get. With less sunlight, you will have less feelings of happiness, which can also lead to depression.
- Internal clock: some scientists believe that this is disrupted when you get less sunlight, which can cause S.A.D..
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER?
When S.A.D. takes effect you will feel depressed. You may feel tired all of the time, and it may be extremely difficult to get out of bed. You may sleep more often then you normally do.
It can be hard to keep your concentration, which may cause problems at work and home. When you don’t have the energy to do daily activities, which can cause anger, which again can lead to S.A.D.. This can also cause weight gain. With food cravings, typically someone suffering from this condition can gain from 9 to 30 pounds a year.
Your personal and social life will be affected. You may not get the same enjoyment from activities that usually interest you. With less social interaction, it can further the feelings of sadness.
WAYS TO WORK ON SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER
If any of this sounds familiar, you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder. There is good news though! There are many ways to treat this condition. Below are listed several different ways you can try and see what works best for you.
- Light therapy: most people who suffer from S.A.D. find this method helpful, in fact 85% do. All you need to do is sit under a therapy light. The light will help balance your body’s chemicals so you feel less depressed. It is best to use a light between 2,500 and 10,000 lux.
- Vitamin D3: have you heard of “The Sunshine Vitamin”? Vitamin D3 is known as this because when you are exposed to light your body produces it. Your body can produce 10,000 – 50,000 IUs of Vitamin D3 in just about half an hour. Vitamin D3 is helpful to your heart, cellular replication, immune system, mood & mental health, muscles, blood sugar levels, and more!
Exercise: exercise creates endorphins that make you feel good. Just 30 minutes of exercise can release these endorphins.
- Dawn Simulators: morning light comes much more quickly in winter months, and has been linked to S.A.D.. Many S.A.D. suffers have had success with dawn simulators. Similar to an alarm clock, these devices can be programmed to slowly increase the light in your room when you awake.
Many people have this disorder – you are not alone. Try any of these treatments, and definitely exercise! Spring will be here before you know it.
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