Friday, February 22, 2013

feeling down? over eating? trouble waking in the morning?...

if you live in the upper half of the states, you may be longing for the warm spring weather to arrive. here in Jersey, the temperature hasn't rose above the 30's in days. i've found myself having trouble waking up in the morning, longing for the warmth of my bed. i curl up on the couch with a warm blanket and plop in front of the tv. naturally, i'll grab some food to munch on. i prefer the comfort of my home to dressing up and taking on the town. my motivation has been limited and my friends have given up on me. but believe it or not, i am not the only one suffering from these symptoms. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real disorder that wasn't recognized until the 1980s. 

in mild cases, we get the "winter blues," which will leave us fatigued, unable to wake easily in the morning or fall asleep at night, feeling withdrawn from the world, lack of energy, and loss of productivity at work or school. luckily, SAD is temporary and once the sun begins to shine again and temperatures get warmer, your symptoms will disappear.

what if you think its more than just a seasonal depression? get evaluated by a doctor. SAD disappears comes spring and reappears come fall. but if you find that your depression has become year-round or you are fully withdrawn, its time to get checked out. depression is a serious disorder that should never be taken lightly. if you find yourself not wanting to leave your house, avoiding communication, food, activities, sex, a doctor will be able to direct you in a course of treatment to get you better. don't suffer!

although its temporary, there are some cures to help you kick SAD in the rear! According to the Mayo Clinic, Light Therapy is a proven way to decrease symptoms of SAD. consider purchasing a Light Therapy Box to sit or work near that mimics the natural light. you know how the sun makes your mood instantly change? light therapy is thought to effect the brain chemicals that are linked to your mood. the suggested use for a light box is for 30 minutes a day with the light shining indirectly toward your eyes. Light Therapy Boxes can also be used to help correct your sleep cycle (circadian rhythms), which tends to get thrown out of whack when you suffer from SAD. Another benefit to the box is the decreased need for popping unnecessary antidepressants. pop on this box every day, and watch as your mood and sleep cycles change for the better!

+ Amazon has some great deals on Light Therapy Lamps: this one is prescription strength, and has a 4.4 rating out of 5. if money is a concern, this one is ranked 4.1 out of 5 and has "just the right level of brightness."

some facts about SAD:

* it effects more women and children than men.

* people with SAD report sleeping 2.5 hours more in winter than summer.

* reverse SAD is real... this is when a person feels more depressed in the summer than in the winter.

* according to Dr. Norman Rosenthal of the National Institute of Health, SAD is a genetic predisposition. so, in short, it most likely runs in your family.

sources: Psychology Today and Mayo Clinic 

i hope this brought to "light" that SAD is a real-life disorder that effects 6 percent of the US population. lesser symptoms of SAD, like the winter blues, effects nearly 14 percent of US adults. when in doubt, just give it around three months, and we will be much warmer and, in turn, much happier!

have a fun weekend :)

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