Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is characterised by the regular occurrence of depressive type symptoms during autumn and winter with full remission during spring and summer. Symptoms can include anxiety, irritability, morbid mood, decreased interest in activity and social events and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.
There are a number of theories regarding the cause(s) of SAD but it does appear to be related to the lesser exposure to full-spectrum natural sunlight.
Nutritional and environmental factors can also play a part.
It is possible to overcome SAD but a little effort may have to be made.
Firstly, be aware that diet can affect the brains’ functioning and therefore mood. During winter we tend to eat a lot more cooked foods (rather than raw) which are often higher in saturate fats and sugars.
Fatty food leads to sluggishness, slow thinking and fatigue. Sugar, although giving an initial lift in energy, is often quickly followed by fatigue, depression and fuzzy confused thinking as blood sugar levels drop.
So check your diet and attempt to keep up the level of raw foods and avoid sugars and fats. Instead consume protein meals containing essential fatty acids (such as oily fish and/or
supplement with fish oils, flaxseed oil or Organic Evening Primrose Oil and complex carbohydrates such as rice, legumes millet etc.
Also attempt to stay in as much bright light as possible. Keep drapes wide open and lights switched on during dark days.
Get enough exercise (one of the best ways to combat depression) and listen to uplifting ‘happy’ music.
Be sure to get enough B vitamins (green vegetables) or supplement with a green food supplement such as Spirulina or Barley grass, or take a B complex tablet. It is often advisable to add 50 – 100mg of B6 and 250mcg of B12. B12 in particular can help to greatly improve energy and combat fatigue.
St Johns Wort is an effective herb to use to help combat this disorder. The best way I can describe its general effect on most people, is a subtle change from a negative manner of thinking, to a more positive manner.
It needs to be taken over a longish period of time. Other herbs such as Kavakava, Oats, Vervain, Chamomile and Melissa (lemon balm) can be used in conjunction with St John’s Wort and this often produces a quicker effect.
Please ‘Contact us’ if requiring herbal extracts.
Another extremely good supplement for lifting people out of depression is Evening Primrose oil, used in 3000mg doses, as needed, but usually twice daily.
If combined with the right foods, sufficient B vitamins and exercise, the effect is generally very quick, often within several hours. It also helps to improve sleep but if this not sufficient then the amino acid Adenosine may be helpful.
Go to the On-line shop for Organic Evening primrose oil.
Light therapy, that provides full-spectrum light, has been used effectively to reduce SAD symptoms but apparently needs to used regularly until the seasons change.
Increasing Serotonin can help hugely. Serotonin is often reduced during periods of SAD. This is what anti-depressant drugs do.
To naturally increase serotonin you can use Trytophan which is a precursor to the neurotransmitter Serotonin and is found in milk, also in cheese. In some studies people who did not respond to light therapy reacted favourably to trytophan.
5HTP is also a precursor to serotonin and this is sold in capsules.
See page on Antidepressants vs 5HTP.