Seasonal Affective Disorder Fact or Fiction?
Winter Blues (SAD)
Where did the term Winter Blues originate?
Also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a condition which occurs every year at the same time. For many people, this characterization occurs in the winter months. We see less sunlight and spend less time outdoors.
Many mental health professionals that agree SAD is a disorder that affects 10-20% of the population. SAD is said to affect women more than men. The Mayo Clinic agrees that this is a real disorder and does not only happen in colder months. Check out the link below and see if you meet any of the criteria. If so, and symptoms persist, contact a professional.
Don’t brush off that yearly feeling as simply a case of the “winter blues” or a seasonal funk that you have to tough out on your own. Take steps to keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the year. – The Mayo Clinic
There are studies that show SAD may not exist, but the few articles I’ve found have given different dates, in the 80’s an late 90’s as time periods when it was considered a condition. These articles did not disprove the facts. Check out the symptoms and judge for yourself.
As with any mood disorder, there are arguments on both sides, that can have valid points, but to me, it’s a real thing. I’m simply not as happy when the weather is colder and the nights are longer.
Fall and Winter SAD symptoms include:
Tiredness or low energy
Problems getting along with other people
Hypersensitivity to rejection
Heavy, “leaden” feeling in the arms or legs
Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
Spring and Summer SAD symptoms include:
Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
Agitation or anxiety
If you feel the same way I do, you may want to try these tips for balancing out your SAD. The Mayo Clinic suggests:
1. Light Therapy
For more holistic treatments:
Vitamin D – many people have a vitamin D deficiency. What isn’t often stated is that in order to absorb vitamin D, an individuals vitamin C must be sufficient. In order to absorb vitamin C, an individuals vitamin K must be sufficient. Get all 3 of these vitamins and it will help alleviate some winter blues.
St. John’s Wort – used primarily in Europe as a treatment for depression, but it’s not FDA approved in the US. St. John’s Wort is an herb that can help with mild depression, but can also interfere with birth control, HIV/AIDS medication, blood thinners and chemotherapy.
SamE -is a synthetic form of a chemical that occurs naturally in the body. The name is short for S-adenosyl–L-methionine (es-uh-den-o-sul-el-muh-THIE-o-neen). Like St. John’s wort, SAMe isn’t approved by the FDA to treat depression in the United States, but it’s used in Europe as a prescription drug to treat depression. SamE May trigger manic cycles in individuals with bi-polar disorder.
Melatonin -primarily used in the US for sleep, it is used in Europe as a mood regulator.
Omega -3 fattyacids – new research suggests food high in Omega – 3 fatty acids can alleviate mood disorders.
These foods include:
Cod Liver Oil
If you seem to experience any of these symptoms yearly, and feel you may be affected by SAD, try some of these holistic remedies. If symptoms persist or worsen, contact a mental health professional.