Seasonal Affective Disorder

Do you get SAD in the winter? About 20% of the population experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is generally a mild form of depression that can begin towards the end of the fall and tapers off by spring. Us northern dwellers are affected even more so by SAD due to colder temperatures, less sunlight hours and less time spent outside.

Not everyone experiences the same symptoms, but here are some of the ways SAD presents:

  • Fatigue and increased sleep
  • Apathy
  • Flat mood
  • Trouble concentrating and focusing
  • Low energy
  • Weight gain and strong food cravings
  • Avoidance of social situations

There are several ways to help ease the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder:
One of the most popular treatments is a light therapy box or lamp. They are very strong, bright lights that help to simulate sunlight, regulate the circadian rhythm, and lift mood. Adding Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, to your supplement regimen can help ward off depressive mood. Low levels have been linked to higher rates of depression. Other helpful supplements to consider are Fish Oil and B Vitamins. Exercise and healthy diet are also crucial for feeling better! Enjoy your holiday gatherings, but don’t go overboard. Sugar, starchy carbs and processed foods can wreak havoc on your body and hormones and make you feel even worse. Exercise helps to balance the body, reduce stress, make you feel better and has been proven to ease depressive symptoms. Moving just a little each day can help. You don’t need to log hours in the gym to reap the benefits of exercise.

St. John’s Wort has also been an effective herbal remedy to help combat SAD. This supplement can take up to eight weeks for the benefits to be felt. If you are considering adding this herb in it is best to start sooner than later. St. John’s Wort does have some medication interactions. Check here before trying this herb.

If you are experiencing severe depressive mood, thoughts of self-harm or suicide please reach out and seek help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is the granddaddy of all crisis hotlines in the U.S. Your call gets routed to a regional or local crisis center, staffed with trained individuals who provide confidential emotional support to everyone who calls. The call and service is completely free. You don’t have to be feeling actively suicidal in order to use this service — it’s for anyone in emotional distress. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)