Seasonal Affective Disorder

SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER

With the coming loss of Pacific Daylight time, many people dread the fall and winter months because of the decreased daylight hours and the darkness that sets in so early.

Some of this dread is especially felt by those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a clinically recognized ailmment that afflicts many people living in parts of the country and the world with longer winter months. Thousands of people in Up state New York, New England, the Upper Mid-Western states, Washington, Alaska, Canada, Scandinavia, and other parts of the world all suffer from SAD.

What are the symptoms of SAD? They include depression, lethargy, crying spells, irritation, excessive sleeping, loneliness, and even suicidal feelings, ideation, and attempts.

What can you do to prevent the effects of SAD? A combination of a well balanced diet, exercise, restful sleep, vitamin therapy, and perhaps counseling can help. The lack of sunlight is one reason that can be attributed to this disorder. Vitamin D, also known as "the sunshine vitamin" can be used to replace the lack of sunlight. Many resort to sun lamps, tanning salons, and sun visors to replace the missing rays. An episode of "Northern Exposure" had many townspeople wearing their sun visors for a certain amount of time each day, as prescribed by Dr. Joel Fleishman. Walt, the town curmudgeon, became rather manic because he became addicted to his and refused to give it up until Holling and Chris did an intervention and took it away.

Seattle is the coffee capital of the world and I see a direct connection between SAD and caffeine intake. Coffee and most cola drinks contain caffeine and many people use t his drug as a form of amphetamine or "speed" to give them "energy" and keep them going, but caffeine can have deleterious effects on the nervous system. Coffee is also an irritant to the stomach lining, and prolonged coffee drinking can cause gastric disturbances and ulcers.

True core energy occurs from a combination of a well balance diet, restful sleep, drinking purified water, and daily exercise. A diet rich in vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, and protein, based on organically grown, fresh fruits and vegetables, pasta, rice, beans, and other natural food sources is the path to health. Refraining from drugs and alcohol always increases energy.

Vitamin, herbal, and mineral supplements assist people in developing core energy and not just getting a caffeine high. Perhaps extra Vitamin D, Vitamin B complex, Vitamin B-15, Vitamin B-12, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and even glandular supplements, for the adrenal, thyroid and pituitary may be necessary.

A visit to a holistic medical doctor, qualified chiropractor, nutritionist, or homeopath may be your first order of business in fighting SAD. A full blood panel may be recommended.

Aerobic exercise is vital in fighting depression. Exercise helps general endorphins, which are natural depressant fighters.

Tears are also an important part of fighting depression. Research has proven that tears of joy are chemically different than tears of sorrow, which contain neurotransmitters that cause depression.. It's no wonder that people say, "I feel so much better after a good cry!" It is because they are emitting through their tears, the very depressants in their system that are causing them lethargy, sadness, and depression. Even psychotherapy may be helpful and necessary in fighting the anger that underlies the depression.

If all of these recommendations are followed, people can get through the seasonal, rainy, cloudy day blues, that surround Seattle and they can lead happy, energetic lives during the winter seasons. Good luck!

The Holistic Health Network.

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By Linnda Durre

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