Cold, Cranky & Sad? Help for Seasonal Depression
by A. Grano
As the season changes from fall to winter and days become shorter, symptoms of seasonal affective disorder may begin to surface. According to Mental Health America, about half a million people suffer from SAD every year, with the highest incidences reportedly during December, January, and February. An even higher number of people may suffer from a milder case of “winter blues”.
What causes seasonal affective disorder?
Changes in daylight affect stimulation of the hypothalamus, a highly complex region in the brain responsible for many body functions. When light is reduced, the hypothalamus’ change in response rate slows various body mechanisms, which can lead to symptoms in certain people. Though it can affect anyone from children to adults, the disorder is more common in women between 20-40 years of age.
Common symptoms of seasonal affective disorder
- Weight gain
- Appetite changes (high cravings for carbohydrates and sweets)
- Physical ailments such as body aches, constipation, diarrhea
- Low energy levels
- Difficulty concentrating
- Irritability and anxiety
- Decreased sex drive
- Suicidal thoughts
- Crying spells
- Increased sensitivity to social rejection
- Social withdrawal
Help for seasonal affective disorder
Pay attention to changes in mood and behavior, and make an extra effort to stay active on those sluggish, chilly winter days. Grab your coat and scarf and go for a walk or jog to soak in the sun’s natural vitamin D – this is one of the best ways to keep our bodies balanced. Vitamin B complex can also help boost energy.
In addition to staying active, adhering to a balanced, sensible diet and moderating your intake of carbs, candy, or other fatty or sugar-laden foods will also help lift your spirits. Reasonable servings of protein will help keep you satiated, plus help keep your metabolic rate up.
If you are in an office or workspace without windows, consider investing in a light box specifically designed to mimic exposure to natural light. Many people consider light therapy to be highly effective in easing SAD symptoms and elevating mood.
Natural remedies can also help to support the brain and nervous system, promoting a calmed, balanced mood and healthy emotions. A complete, holistic approach to treating SAD, including diet, sleep, exercise, and other lifestyle factors, will not only help relieve symptoms but also sustain emotional well-being throughout the year.
SAD Soother is a homeopathic remedy that relieves depression related to seasonal affective disorder