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Fitness & Wellness tips based on Science
We all have the winter blues at some point, but is it a disorder? How can we manage this problem?
Post by Debbie L. Belair
SAD is a seasonal form of depression that isn't present the rest of the year, it can start as early as August. Look out for warning signs early.
Do you have mood changes that start late summer or early fall? If so you may have Seasonal Effective disorder. Often people are not even aware that they have it. I guess it's fair to say that most of us experience some of these symptoms in the winter months. If it lasts more than two weeks it may be a problem.
The main symptoms are sadness and decreased energy. You may notice that you sleep more, and still feel tired. Losing interest in your life and other people around you could also be a warning sign. Its like regular depression but it goes away during the rest of the year.
The problem most often is, you are exposed to a lot less light as the days get shorter. By the end of December the days start getting longer again. Some of the causes are thought to be a change in the biological clock causes neurotransmitter dysfunction in some people. Unfortunately, women are at higher risk.
The solution is getting more light by using broad spectrum white light so that the skin coverts vitamin D. You should also increase your vitamin D doses. If you can't afford the light, then one alternative is getting outside more. Great if you can do both.
Most of us suffer a bit from the lack of light, but studies say that some individuals start suffering from this disorder as early as childhood. Also, if you live further away from the equator then you are more at risk.
An article by Rosenthal gives more information. You can download his research article at the end of the blog. He reports that light therapy is the most common therapy used to treat SAD.
Good news! The Canadian mental health association has set up free courses for depression and other mental illnesses. Sorry, their website isn't working right now so I can't provide a direct link.
Spending time outside is an easy solution. These full spectrum lights are available in most drug stores. They sell for around $200. If your symptoms persist all winter, it might be a good idea to get some help. Don't let it ruin your holidays.
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