Are you S.A.D.?

Maybe I should be asking if you HAVE S.A.D….


Do you think you get “winter blues”? There really is such a thing.
wpid-images-4.jpg.jpegWhat causes S.A.D. is still unclear but there are some theories that make sense:

The decrease in daylight hours may disrupt the body’s natural clock (circadian rhythm) causing hormonal disruptions

 A drop in serotonin, a hormone that affects your moods (happy hormone), is produced at a slower, smaller rate due to reduced exposure to sunlight and this may lead to depression.

Normally on a daily basis your body will produce serotonin throughout the day and as night fall approaches your body will start to produce a hormone called Melatonin in its place. This hormone is what sends your body into sleep. As the night goes on the levels of melatonin produce increase until you sleep. Then the levels decrease as you wake up (and full circle the melatonin gets replaced with serotonin). During the fall/winter seasons/ daylight is shorter, the amount of sunlight absorbed is less due to layers of clothes shielding us from the elements and this tricks our body into thinking the sun is down earlier than it actually is creating conflicting hormone productions.

Common signs that lead to diagnosis:
Low levels of energy/attention
All around tiredness all day
Feeling on edge around people
Irrational view of rejection. Blowing it out of proportion/creating it all together
Arms/legs that feel heavy. Like lead
Changes in appetite, esp. for high carb foods
Weight gain/loss
Loss of interest in favorite activities

If you find yourself with some of these symptoms/signs, don’t worry. You don’t have to go searching for a psychiatric in panic mode just yet. There are ways you can help yourself right then and there!

Go for a walk/exercise:
Going for a walk not only gets you out of the house, but exercising is proven to increase levels of Serotonin thus attempting to combat the body’s attempts to produce melatonin.

Sit outside/any outside activity:
Soaking up the sun causes natural rises in serotonin.

There are some ways people swear work to combat symptoms at home. These are not approved by the FDA and should be used with your own advise.
St John’s Wart- Again, NOT approved by the FDA for treatment of depression, but in Europe it is widely used for the purpose. But word of caution, St. John’s Wart DOES interfere with medications such as, medications for HIV/AIDS, birth control, chemotherapy drugs, blood thinning medications and medications used to prevent rejection of transplanted organs.

SAM-e pronounced sam-E. This is not FDA approved for the treatment of depression in the united states however, in Europe it is a prescription for the treatment of depression. SAM-e is a synthetic form of a chemical in produced in the liver called- S-adenosyl–L-methionine (es-uh-den-o-sul-el-muh-THIE-o-neen). There is little researched as to why it may help. Further studies are being done.

Vitamin D3- This is called the sunshine hormone. This is what the skin produces as it comes in contact with the sun. Without vitamin D, the body cannot absorb calcium. Studies show that during the winter season there is less hours of sunlight and less skin exposure to absorb the rays to produce the crucial vitamin. Taking this in supplement form aids in rising the levels of vitamin D in the body thus also keeping the levels of serotonin up and well, we already learned what serotonin can do.

There are more out there if you search.

What you want to avoid:
Excessive artificial lighting
sitting inside
spending too much time in front of the computer screen or TV- the low levels of light emitted by devices just injustice for
your eyes by putting strain on the muscles focusing making you tired.
Staying in bed too long- Try and get up with your alarm without hitting snooze, take a refreshing shower, eat a healthy well balanced breakfast and start your day with a positive footing.

If all attempts fail and you feel like you just can’t do it alone, do not be afraid or embarrassed to ask your doctor for some advice. Noone wants to feel down and miserable so why not speak up to keep your body on a good vibe.

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