Seasonal affective disorder is a form of seasonal depression that is common in winter. If you think that could apply to you or a family member, then get the lowdown on this experience here, as well as descriptions of a few natural products that can be of help in dealing with seasonal affective disorder.
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of seasonal depression. Most people who experience SAD experience symptoms beginning in late fall and lasting through the end of winter.
The occurrence of SAD often takes place in tandem with a decrease in the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is directly influential on an individual’s mood. This is probably due to a decreased exposure to sunlight, resulting in a dearth of serotonin production, and a depressed mood.
The symptoms of SAD are comparable to those of major depression. They include: lethargy, loss of interest in worthwhile activities, feelings of hopelessness and/or worthlessness, and other symptoms of depression.
Addressing and Treating SAD
SAD is a widely recognized condition, and there are a number of healthy and non-invasive methods to treat it. Talking to a mental health counselor is a good idea, as well as getting outside often and changing up your morning routine.
Another way of addressing SAD is to get more exposure to light; using a lightbox is a common way to do this. Light therapy has been a “mainstay” for treating SAD. The individual will sit up to 45 minutes in front of the light box, a UV-free light many times brighter than normal indoor light.
Doctors might recommend medication for patients who have a particularly difficult experience with SAD. The most commonly recommended medications for SAD are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as citalopram and paroxetine, as well as another depression medication known as bupropion.
Diet, Supplements, and SAD
A healthy diet does play a part in preventing the symptoms associated with SAD. Avoiding sugary and starchy carbs is certainly to be avoided. Healthy meats and protein-rich foods and vegetables are the best foundation for a healthy diet to help prevent SAD. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can also be of help in positively influencing mood.
Treating SAD naturally with changes to your daily routine is crucial. Supplements used for the sake of remedying the symptoms of SAD are merely supplemental. We recommend that you speak to your doctor before trying new supplements.
Vitamin D is thought to be potentially helpful for alleviating SAD because those with the disorder are frequently deficient in this vitamin. Deficiency is often due to decreased sun exposure in the winter months. Correlation does not always imply causation, but supplementing with vitamin D has the potential to actually help, especially if you are sure that you don’t get much sunlight regularly.
Vitamin B-12 could be helpful. Low levels of vitamin B12 in the blood are associated with depression. Folic acid might be helpful because it’s known to influence the production of serotonin. This can help make up for the lack of serotonin that can occur due to decreased sun exposure.
Finding relief from SAD is possible. To manage or overcome SAD, all of the above options should be considered. Lifestyle choices, diet, and even one or two choice supplements can potentially work wonders in relieving the depressing symptoms of SAD.