Today my friends I would like to talk about how to prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) that affects million of people every year. If you don’t know what this is — It is actually a type of depression from the changing of the seasonal. It is a real disorder that many people have and might not want to admit or even be aware of. Sometimes we as humans don’t want to admit that we have problems, especially when it comes to any kind of emotional or depression issues. We worry about what other people will think of us and that it’s all in our head, which is absolutely not true. And you are not alone, there are many other individuals dealing with the same feelings and problems. This disorder is manageable if you find the right solutions. So let me explain this to you and give you some ideas on how to cope and manage SAD without drugs and using alternative medicine methods.
SAD can also be called winter-onset depression. Symptoms comes from the change of the seasons when the temperature starts cooling down, the days become shorter so we have less sunlight, knocking our body’s daily rhythms out of sync with the sun–this is the most common type of SAD. Symptoms usually begin in late fall or early winter and go away by summer. There is also a much less common type of SAD, known as summer-onset depression, usually begins in the late spring or early summer and goes away by winter. SAD same symptoms usually returns at about the same time every year. The main trigger to SAD is the change of sunlight. Some people refer to SAD as the winter blues.
The pineal gland which is located in the middle of the brain, responds to darkness by secreting a hormone called melatonin. This resets the brain central clock. For someone who travels a lot and is taking melatonin to help sleep on overnight flights and to help minimize jet lag, this could increase symptoms of SAD. Because our body increases production of melatonin in the dark.
According to the statics between 4% and 6% of people in the United States suffer from SAD. Another 10% to 20% may experience a mild form of winter-onset SAD. SAD is more common in women than in men. Some children and teenagers get SAD, but usually it doesn’t start in people younger than 20 years of age. Many people that suffer from SAD have at least one person in there family that sufferers from some form of depressive disorder. In northern regions where the winter are longer and harsher SAD is more common Not everyone who has SAD experiences the same symptoms.
Common symptoms of winter-onset SAD: can often be the same as with depression such as hopelessness, despair, headaches. Other symptoms include the following: Change in appetite (especially a craving for sweet or starchy foods which will cause weight gain, fatigue and less energy, tendency to oversleep, difficulty concentrating, Irritability and anxiety, loss of interest in activities and social events that were once important.
Symptoms of summer-onset SAD include:
A loss of appetite and weight loss, Insomnia, irritability and anxiety, agitation, and increased sex drive.
Natural remedies, herbal remedies and treatment for Sad:
1. Light therapy: This is usually the first therapy recommend and about 1/2 of SAD patients symptoms improve. Light has definitely proved to be an effective treatment for depression because it acts on the same neurotransmitters an brain functions as antidepressant medications, and suppresses secretions of melatonin.
According to one study researchers gave patients low doses of melatonin in the afternoon and exposed them to bright light in the morning. The closer the timing of melatonin bought patients’ body rhythms towards normal, the higher they scored on mood scales. Melatonin is a physiological marker the correlates with symptom severity before and during treatment.
Standard light therapy is usually 30 minutes for 10,000-lux diffused, white fluorescent light early in the morning. Light boxes emit full-spectrum rays to mimic the sun. When light therapy is used properly it has very few side effects and usually helps within one week of starting therapy.
2. Walking or aerobic exercise: Getting outside during the day and walking an hour in the winter sunlight is as effective as 2 1/2 hours under bright artificial light. Although effective is is unfortunately not always feasible for everyone–depending on the weather and for many people who are working through the daylight hours. Aerobic exercise releases endorphins which can have a major positive effect on SAD sufferers. A 30-60 minute daily regimen has many positive health effects.
3. Diet: A low fat diet, without too much protein is recommended. Eliminate caffeine, refined sugars, and flours.
4. Herbal Remedies: Mustard flower essence helps to shorten dark and gloomy days, lifting the spirit from the depths of despair. This herbal remedy that triggers the healing response to bring one back from the dark side. Shines sunshine onto the despondent or discouraged soul.
St. John’s Wort — this natural antidepressant is commonly used in many European countries for depressive disorders. According to NIHM — In the United States, it is one of the top-selling botanical products.
5-HTP — a natural anti-depressive and is a precursor to neurotransmitter, Serotonin and as a result increases Serotonin levels.
Omega-3, although not sufficient by itself to treat depression, studies have shown that this all-natural remedy is a useful adjunct to other depression treatment. The best way to get Omega 3s is to eat fresh fish (e.g. salmon, sardines) or you can take Omega-3 supplements.
6. Meditation: Numerous studies have shown meditation to have many health benefits as well as improving mood, anxiety and stress. Meditation can be a helpful addition to treating depression.
7. Cognitive Behavior Therapy: CBT is especially tailored to SAD disorder and is effective for many patients. CBT is based on the idea that thoughts greatly affect how one feels and thus behaves and the focus of change is on one’s thinking. Accordingly, this treatment focuses on changing the negative thinking and distorted thoughts (cognitive restructuring) associated with depression.
8. Daily Vitamins Supplements: B12 vitamin deficiency and depression. B12, folic acid, –may defend against depression and help maintain positive mood. Usually Vitamin D comes from sunshine and since it is so essential to all over good health, taking a supplement is a smart choice, since our bodies do not produce it naturally.
9. Acupuncture: – Activates certain points (meridians) on the body to control symptoms, treat illnesses and improve health. Acupuncture can act as an antidepressant by improving mood and symptoms associated with depression such as insomnia, fatigue, changes in appetite and anxiety.
If your or a family member is suffering from SAD I hope this information will help you get on the right track to find the right kind of therapy. SAD or any kind of depression are very real disorders that we can not always control ourselves so if you feel you need help, have any questions or need to know how to get the proper treatment –Please contact local health-care provider of Mental Health Facility. Don’t suffer in silence—-get help for your safety and all those you love and depend on you!