Many feel a little down during the dark days of winter. The holidays may even intensify this feeling. You want to eat more, sleep more and just feel tired all the time. This common reaction to the dark cold days can be called the "winter blues." A more severe reaction is called seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and this is a form of depression.
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
It's a condition that usually comes on in late fall as the days shorten and the temperature falls.The symptoms include:
Change in appetite-craving sweets and starches
Who gets Seasonal Affective Disorder?
About 3% to 5% may have full blown SAD but up to 10% to 20% may have the milder winter blues. SAD is more common in women and usually the sufferers are over 20 years old.
What causes Seasonal Affective Disorder?
We don't know but it results in a disruption of the body's internal clock. Increased levels of melatonin and decreased levels of seratonin may play a role.
How is Seasonal Affective Disorder treated?
Light Therapy This can start with sitting close to a window during the day and getting outside whenever there is some sun. Light Boxes which mimic natural sunlight can be purchased on the internet.seem to be helpful especially when used for at least a half hour in the morning. Setting a timer to put you bedroom lights on a half hour before you get up can also help
Exercise -outdoors is best
Diet: Trade grains and fruits for the sugars and starches.
Follow the sun. If your symptoms are severe and you can manage it. escape to a warm sunny place.
For severe cases see your doctor. Antidepressants can benefit some with severe seasonal affective disorder.