The Institute for Vibrant Living (IVL) natural health research dept. has investigated the recent phenomenon known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Here is their report:
The dark, dreary days of winter are enough to put anybody in a less than perfect mood.
For some people however, winter causes a deep and debilitating depression that substantially affects their ability to function.
The scientific name for this winter funk is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
What exactly is SAD?
While doctors aren't exactly certain what causes SAD, many believe a disrupted "body clock" — or circadian rhythm — caused by seasonal changes may be to blame.
Seasonal affective disorder is a cyclic, seasonal condition. This means that signs and symptoms usually come back and then go away around the same time each year.
Some SAD Facts:
- Usually, Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms appear during late fall or early winter and go away during the warmer, sunnier days of spring and summer.
- The most difficult months for SAD sufferers seem to be around January and February.
- Younger adults and women are thought to be at higher risk for developing symptoms.
- SAD may begin at any age, but the main onset is between 18 and 30 years of age.
- The precise cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder isn't known, but genetics and age may be factors.
Causes Are Speculative
Most evidence suggests that SAD arises from abnormalities in how your body manages its internal (circadian) biological rhythms - or matches those rhythms to the 24-hour day.
In particular, the hormone melatonin is thought to play a major role in seasonal affective disorder. Melatonin helps control body temperature, hormone secretion and sleep. It's produced in a specific area of your brain during the hours of darkness.
Fortunately, there are safe, effective, drug-free treatments that can minimize the symptoms of SAD.
One of the most popular ways to deal with SAD is through light therapy. Research shows that light can help get the body clock back in sync.
Light therapy mimics outdoor light and causes a biochemical change in your brain that lifts your mood, relieving symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.
In therapy, you sit a few feet from a specialized light therapy box so that you're exposed to very bright light. To be effective, light therapy must be delivered by a special bulb that offers the sun's spectrum of colors and the sun's intensity.
If you use light therapy, it is important to stick to your regime because it will only work if used regularly. The general recommendation for most people with seasonal affective disorder is to begin treatment with light therapy in the early fall, as soon as the earliest symptoms start.
Don't Worry, Be Happy!
Also, natural supplementation may be of assistance. Natural mood enhancers such as St. Johns Wort, Kava Kava and IVL's Beautiful Barley can be of help in providing a sense of well being, thus reducing the chances of sinking into a major seasonal funk. Visit IVLProducts.com for more information.
So remember this winter to be on the alert for symptoms such as difficulty waking, daytime sleepiness and carbohydrate cravings, as this may indicate the onset of SAD.
Also look for these possible symptoms among your friends and family, as you might provide an important early warning for their well being.
David Flores is a natural health researcher for Institute for Vibrant Living, a leading source for all-natural supplements, vitamins, and minerals for many health and nutrition challenges. To learn more about the products offered by the Institute for Vibrant Living visit http://www.ivlproducts.com
Photo Credit: Tuomas_Lehtinen | FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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