Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Winter Blues


Winter Blues, Winter Depression, February Blahs, Mid December Funk are all common references to what is described clinically as Seasonal Affective Depression. Some folk experience a milder version that is sometimes referred to as Subsyndromal Seasonal Affective Disorder (another way to say borderline). The symptoms are very similar to Major Depression. The difference is that the blues and depression are triggered by the decreasing sunlight beginning in the fall and ending by late spring (variance depends on your sensitivity and geographical location).

Warning: Possible "TMI" (To Much Information)
There is still some debate regarding root causes, but research seems to be leaning towards the impact of decreasing sunlight on the Pineal Gland in the brain. Melatonin and Serotonin balances get out of whack and result in the symptoms listed below. About 5 % of the populations have full-blown SAD. Another 14% has enough symptoms to be listed as borderline. Most folk are probably feel the effects as lower energy levels.

My symptoms can range from very mild to moderate. I have found the use of Light Therapy (what my friend Larry calls his “grow light”) to be very effective. Energy, mental focus and positive mood increase usually within five days of sitting in front of the Light Box.
One informational Web Site list the symptoms are as follows…

· Sleep problems - oversleeping but not refreshed, can't get out of bed, afternoon nap needed
· Overeating - carbohydrate craving leading to weight gain
· Depression, despair, misery, guilt, anxiety - normal tasks become frustratingly difficult
· Family / social problems - avoiding company, irritability, loss of libido, loss of feeling
· Lethargy - too tired to cope, everything an effort
· Physical symptoms - often joint pain or stomach problems, lowered resistance to infection
· Behavioral problems - especially in young people

Below are web sites that will provide you with more information than you probably need. The two therapy lights that I have purchased over the years can be found at Apollo Lights (http://www.apollolights.com/).

Web Links
http://www.webmd.com/depression/tc/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad-topic-overview
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/seasonal-affective-disorder/DS00195
http://www.lumie.com/help/quick-guides/sad
http://www.normanrosenthal.com/
http://www.nosad.org/

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It sounds interesting. It is confusing on how only light can make you feel better.