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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Seasonal Blues or Depression?

     

 More people report feeling depressed and tired during the darker days of winter. For most, this is actually a very normal response to less sunlight, thus giving us less Vitamin D. There have been over 5,000 scientific, clinical studies that show lack of Vitamin D can lead to physical illness, as well as, emotional illness. However, the seasonal blues can be a form of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Yes, it's really called SAD.

So, how can you tell if you suffer from the winter blues or other types of depression? (SAD) is a regular seasonal pattern associated with major depressive disorders during the fall and winter.

The symptoms are exactly the same as non-seasonal depression symptoms, EXCEPT the seasonal pattern. SAD symptoms include fatigue, an omnipresent sad mood, difficulty concentrating, loss of interests in activities, a change in sleeping habits, sleeping more than usual (even more than with "normal" depression), food cravings and emotional eating, and frequent thoughts of death or suicide. 

Never self-diagnose or use self-treatment, but with that said light therapy treatments (photo-therapy) and regular therapy are effective treatments for SAD. Don't run down to the tanning salon just yet. Always be careful with light treatments. Common side effects include headache, eye strain, and agitation. If using a tanning bed, you are increasing your risk of skin cancer. There is not a one-size fits all treatment for people with SAD.

 Risk factors for SAD include:
♦ Being a female. (we always seem to get the short end of the stick, don't we?)
♦ Age. Teens and young adults have a higher risk.
♦ Family history.
♦ Location, location, location. Living far from the equator.

 Tips to help cope with seasonal affective disorder:
♦ Socialize
♦ Stress Management
♦ Take care of yourself!

 If you or a loved one is considering suicide, there is hope and people willing to listen.

 The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is open 7 days a week, 24 hours.
 1 (800) 273-8255 or www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org



Works Cited

Rohan, Kelly PhD, Leading Expert of Seasonal Affective Disorder. The American Psychological Association (2013)

The MAYO Clinic. www.mayoclinic.org (2014)

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. (2014)

Yannayon, Kim. Blogger.

I am in no way a doctor and am not providing medical advice. Always seek the advice or your physician or qualified health care provider. The purpose of this article is to promote an understanding of  the health topics.

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