Seasonal Affect Disorder, (or SAD), is a disorder that is in the category of depression. What makes SAD so unique is that people notice SAD symptoms during particular seasons of the year. The average individual will start noticing symptoms starting in the fall, around time change, with symptoms increasing during the winter months and then decreasing as the days become lighter with spring and summer.
Some symptoms that you may experience are the following: a change in mood; becoming depressed; feelings of hopelessness; a decrease in energy; change in appetite and sleep; having difficulty concentrating; no longer feeling pleasure or joy in activities you previously loved; and in severe cases thoughts of death or suicide. As you see, the symptoms are very similar to depression but unique to SAD is the following: oversleeping frequently; craving carbohydrates; weight gain; your arms and legs feel heavy; and this can put a strain on relationships.
No one truly knows what causes SAD, but theories from researchers are the following: a decrease in sunlight during winter can affect our biological clock and reduce serotonin and melatonin levels. Serotonin’s role in our body is to regulate our mood. Melatonin is a chemical in our body which also regulates mood but also affects our sleep patterns.
Those at a higher risk are young females, living farther north (longer, dark winters) and those with a family or personal history of depression. Also, those who live farther north are vulnerable to having low Vitamin D levels which can cause feelings of low energy and depression.
So what can you do to be proactive and help your body get through those long winter months?
There are several natural options.
· You could do a trial of CBD oil. I would advise you have someone help you to determine what that dose would be and to help you titrate the dosage to fit your unique body. Please be sure you use a reputable product such as Elixinol. Not all CBD oils are the same.
· Talk to a therapist if suffering from depression and feeling hopelessness.
· Light therapy-you would need a special light box or lamp. The “light” produces a similar affect to natural light which triggers those chemicals in our brain that affect our moods (serotonin and melatonin).
· Exercise daily, limit alcohol (which is a depressant), and learn to meditate and relax to help your body handle stress more affectively.
· Get a consultation from a naturopath to help you design a diet plan, Melatonin, and other supplements to help you get through the winter months. You can contact Louise at Louise.Ramey.RN.NP@gmail.com
Also, check out 4 Rivers Center For Well Being website/newsletter for upcoming talks. Knowledge is power and we all need to be proactive in our health. https://www.4riverscentercbd.com/seminars-workshops-webinars.html#/
Enjoy the sun as much as you can!