Are you likely to burrow in during the cold, dark winter months, not to be heard from again until the spring? Do you sit on the couch all winter and binge watch whatever is on your DVR?
Or is it worse for you? Do you feel sad and exhausted and maybe even a little depressed? Do you overeat and oversleep during the cold winter months? Have you considered that maybe it's more than just the blues?
Many people suffer with more than a little "blues" in the winter months. They may be afflicted with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). In case you don't know what SAD is, it's a type of depression that is present during particular seasons, most often in winter months.
There are many reasons why someone might develop SAD in the winter, although the cause is not really known. According to the NIMH, people who are most susceptible to SAD may have the following dysfunctions:
They may not be able to effectively regulate serotonin
Serotonin is one of the key neurotransmitters involved in mood regulation.
They may overproduce melatonin
Melatonin is the sleep hormone and people with SAD may produce more of it in dark winter months.
They may underproduce Vitamin D
Vitamin D is believed to be involved in serotonin regulation. Deficiencies in Vitamin D have also been associated with clinical depression.
What are the risk factors?
Women are four times more likely to be diagnosed with SAD than men
Living far from the equator
SAD is more likely found in people who live the farthest from the equator. The further north or south of the equator, the higher the likelihood of a SAD diagnosis.
People with family history of depression are at higher risk of developing SAD
Younger people are more likely to be diagnosed with SAD
Bipolar or depression
A diagnosis of another type of depression puts you at higher risk for SAD
There are several treatment options for SAD that may work alone or together.
SSRIs are used to treat SAD but come with their own risks.
Using a light box for 20-60 minutes first thing every morning during the winter months has been shown the be effectivefor SAD sufferers.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is used to reframe negative thoughts and help the afflicted find pleasurable indoor and outdoor activities to participate in during the winter.
Vitamin D deficiency has been found to be an issue for most people with SAD due to shorter days and lack of exposure to sunlight. There are mixed reviews on the efficacy of Vitamin D therapy but if the patient is deficient, supplementation is likely needed anyway.
If you feel that you might be suffering from SAD, seek medical help if it interferes with day to day living. You might be able to get relief from one or more of the therapies listed here. And hopefully, you can look forward to the arrival of spring.
Since June 2019, I decided to hold myself accountable for walking my talk. Several years ago, I was able to take off 135 pounds and essentially save my own life. I regained some of that weight in the last couple of years and I’m working my way back down. I’ve lost over 40 pounds since I began in June and have exercised nearly every day since August.
If you choose to join me on this journey, I hope I am able to impart some nutritional and lifestyle wisdom. Even though I may have gone off the rails temporarily I can still share some of my first hand experience as well as my acquired knowledge and training to help you make the right changes to live your best life.
Do You Want Help?
Would you like to have more energy, lose weight, sleep better, and balance your hormones? I am launching another 5 week Sugar Detox Program beginning January 28th.
This program is open to anyone who:
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Aren’t you tired of feeling bloated and lethargic?
If you continue to follow the path you’re on, where will it lead you in six months? a year? Isn’t it time to take a different approach?
What you have done in the past hasn’t worked or at least has not stuck. I can help you change that. Click here for a free consultation. We’ll discuss your challenges and your goals for the coming year and see if we’re a good fit. You have nothing to lose except those nasty cravings.
As a health coach, I work with women who are facing serious health challenges like heart disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes or who have been diagnosed as having a precursor to a serious health issue such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or high blood sugar. I help them make food and lifestyle changes so they can get healthy, live longer and enjoy a fuller, happier, more energetic life. If you would like to have a free consultation about the health challenges you have and the improvements you would like to see in your health, click here to schedule a no strings attached call.