Sad: Seasonal Affective Disorder

|When Your Body Gets the Blues|

What is it with wintertime and the blahs?

Ever heard of seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD?

SAD is when you feel down in the dumps during the dreary winter months.

What causes SAD, and what can you do about it?

Keep reading!

Q: What is SAD?

A: SAD is a mood disorder brought on by decreasing daylight. It affects an estimated half a million people every year starting between September and November and continuing until March or April. A SAD diagnosis is made after a person experiences this type of depression for three consecutive months, or each winter for several consecutive years.

Q: What causes SAD?

A: A biochemical imbalance in the hypothalamus due to fewer daylight hours and lack of winter sunlight.

Q: What are the symptoms?

A: For some, SAD is a feeling of being “down”, having less energy, maybe even days of not wanting to get out of bed. For others SAD is disabling and requires medical treatment. Common symptoms include:

Can SAD sufferers be helped?

Yes. Light therapy in the form of “light boxes,” is helpful to some, and getting enough vitamin D is recommended for nearly everyone with SAD.

Why is vitamin D so important?

Most symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are identical to SAD symptoms. In addition to muscle pain, weak bones/fractures, they include low energy and fatigue, lowered immunity, depression and mood swings, and sleep irregularities. Sunlight is our major vitamin D source, but if you live in a region above latitude 40 (a horizontal line that runs from just below New York City west to northern California), then the sun is only strong enough between May and September to trigger the vitamin D conversion.

 

If you think you may be suffering from vitamin D deficiency, get a blood test and talk with your provider about supplementing to get your vitamin D value up to 50-70 ng/ml.

What else can be done?

Watch your diet. Increase fiber, good fats, lean protein, fruits and veggies. Avoid sugar and processed foods.

Other helpful practices:

 

Think you need your Vitamin D level checked?  

Please call Peak Medical Clinic for an appointment today!

 

Medford, OR (541) 275-6655

Roseburg, OR (541) 236-9246

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