The Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder Explained

January 14, 2010 by  
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It’s not unusual for people to feel a little down at one point or another, but some are consistently depressed when the summer ends and shorter days begin. Is this depression due to circumstances or do they have SAD? Having the symptoms of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) explained will help determine if their problem is simply a down day or something more serious.

A type of depression, SAD is often characterized by feelings of sadness and hopelessness as well as losing interest in normal activities. The symptoms increase as the year progresses from sunny, longer days to those which are colder and shorter.

Symptoms generally include, but are not limited to, the following:

* Sleepiness or fatigue – This is common among people suffering from SAD; in fact, they may desire to sleep ten or more hours per day during the winter. Unfortunately, most people experiencing SAD don’t feel rested no matter how much they sleep.

* Concentration problems – Since SAD is a form of depression, those with this disorder often experience difficulty with concentration, quality of memory, and the ability to speak. It is quite common for people with SAD to have problems remembering names, dates, and appointments.

* Irritability and anger – Also common in those affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder is having fits of anger. One recent study found 40% of the people with SAD had anger episodes which were deemed inappropriate compared with only 29% of people without SAD. They also have these bouts of anger nineteen or more times per month.

* Increased appetite – Many people with general depression will stop eating; however, some people with SAD often experience an increase in appetite. 65% of those having SAD state they’re actually hungrier during the darker months. This increase in appetite may be due to lower levels of serotonin which controls appetite and mood.

* Carbohydrate cravings – When SAD sufferers do eat more during colder months, they most likely crave carbohydrates such as pasta and bread. Some doctors think the desire for carbs is caused by the increase of tryptophan which then increases the serotonin levels. They may be using carbs in place of medicine to increase their moods but will result in gaining weight during the winter months.

* Withdrawal from normal activities – Depression sufferers often feel like secluding themselves, but this is particularly true for those with SAD.

These symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder may vary in severity in each person. Visiting a physician will enable them to correctly diagnose and recommend treatment if you are found to have SAD.

Click HERE to learn more about Seasonal Affective Disorder and one way to help combat it and other related symptoms

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Food Dos and Don’ts to Beat Winter Blues

December 13, 2009 by  
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People with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) tend to put on weight because they tend to sleep more, are less active, and eat more than during the longer spring and summer months. They may crave carbohydrates and sweets to the point where they eat little else. Understanding these food dos and don’ts to beat winter blues may help you keep the extra pounds at bay while enabling you to feel better.

SAD is a type of depression which affects millions of people in the United States and around the world. While most of the people affected are women, men also suffer from this sometimes debilitating disorder. As stated above, people with SAD often crave carbohydrates and sugary treats because their body needs serotonin which helps regulate hunger and affects mood-enhancing chemicals. Unfortunately, when anyone eats too many sweets, extra pounds also creep onto the body.

Things to do:

* Eat complex carbohydrates found in fruits and vegetables. Choosing the most colorful vegetables and fruits will not only help you avoid simple carbs, but they may actually help brighten your day with their colors. Some dieticians suggest their patients with SAD eat as many as four cups of brightly colored fruits and vegetables a day.

* Eat three servings of protein a day. The protein helps fill you up, gives you energy, and helps build muscle.

* You may want to keep the following foods on hand for when you feel you need a mid-afternoon snack: oatmeal, nuts, peanut butter, prewashed vegetables, air-popped popcorn, whole grain crackers or bread, turkey, fruit, or cottage cheese.

* Bananas are a good choice if you want something sweet. Not only do they curb the appetite for sugar, they also can help enhance your mood because they contain both dopamine and serotonin.

Things not to do:

* Avoid consuming too much caffeine. Caffeine has been shown to suppress serotonin levels, so you’re actually compounding the problem when drinking coffee. If you must drink it, wait until after the mid-day meal so there is still plenty of daylight left to keep you from getting too tired.

* Avoid sweet treats and simple carbohydrates. This would include white bread and rice. Eating too many simple carbs raises your blood sugar level and then drops it just as quickly, which leads to the afternoon slump many people feel.

* Don’t skip meals as a general rule, not only during the winter months. The longer you wait between meals, the hungrier you will be. You will also notice a dip in concentration and more of a tendency to make poor food choices.

Following these food dos and don’ts to beat winter blues will help improve the way you feel as well, as help you avoid putting on extra pounds. When the winter months are over, you can feel better about the way you dealt with SAD this year and feel good about not having extra weight to lose before summer months arrive.

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The Benefits of SAM-e to Combat Winter Blues

December 7, 2009 by  
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You may have heard recently that SAM-e (S-adenosyl-methionine) is a good supplement for those suffering with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAM-e isn’t an herb as such, but is a substance found in plant, animal, and human cells. While the body does produce SAM-e, many people may notice the benefit of taking SAM-e as a supplement.

SAM-e has been used in the United States to treat depression which is characterized by pessimism, loss of motivation, an increase in sleep and appetite, carbohydrate cravings, and thoughts of suicide in some cases. Rather than using synthetic drugs which often have serious adverse side effects, many people are choosing to use natural alternatives such as SAM-e, St. John’s Wort, and kava kava.

Many people consider SAM-e to be one of the most effective natural antidepressants; it is also considered to be extremely safe. SAM-e increases the action of dopamine, serotonin, and melatonin, which are neurotransmitters required to regulate people’s mood.

SAM-e has been prescribed to effectively treat mild depression in Europe for many years. It has been shown to have the following benefits, not all associated with depression or SAD:

* Joint and connective tissue pain associated with osteoarthritis is reduced
* Produces an energizing effect for those taking the supplement
* Better focus when using the supplement than when not taking it
* Positive improvement in their mood while taking it
* May lower homocysteine levels which may reduce cardiovascular disease
* Is an antioxidant which helps fight free radicals
* Does not cause weight gain or sexual dysfunction in users, which is a problem with some prescribed antidepressants

Besides helping improve the symptoms of depression and SAD, there are other health benefits associated with taking SAM-e. Quite often people suffering from depression experience pain similar to arthritis. If a person does have arthritis pain, SAM-e may help alleviate some of this pain. SAM-e has also been shown to have a positive effect on fibromyalgia and liver disease, along with arthritis pain and depression.

Most often, people will take 400 milligrams of SAM-e on an empty stomach for up to two weeks. This should be sufficient for mild depression symptoms. If the depression lingers or gets worse, someone may take up to 600 milligrams a day. However, if depression symptoms last longer than two weeks, it is best to seek professional help. Those diagnosed with bipolar depression particularly should speak with their health provider before taking SAM-e or any other antidepressant.

The benefits of SAM-e to combat winter blues are reported in the United States and Europe. You may have considered using SAM-e yourself. If this is the case, you can find it in drug stores, health food stores, and general discount stores. SAM-e may well help alleviate some of your symptoms of winter blues, but you may find the cost more than you would prefer.

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Beat the Winter Blues with Aromatherapy

December 3, 2009 by  
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“Winter blues” – many people get them each year. Perhaps the problem is Seasonal Affective Disorder, a form of depression. Sometimes the problem is simply apathy caused by the long winter days and fewer hours of natural sunlight, rather than a medical condition. If this describes you, you may want to try these aromatherapy oil blends to help beat winter blues.

Purchase the highest quality essential oils from Young Living here

Aromatherapy is not a new technique, although it is only in recent years that it has become more well known. It is the use of essential oils which come from flowers, herbs, shrubs, or fruits and are said to promote health and mental wellvbeing. In most cases, the oils are added to bath water, used as a spray on bedding, and sometimes simply inhaled or rubbed into the skin with a carrier oil to derive the healthful benefits.

Aromatherapy can do wondrous things to energize, calm, or help beat the winter blues. Essential oils stimulate the sense of smell and can stimulate our memories, emotions, and instincts. The aromas can affect our entire being and psyche. However, it is not a substitute for proper medical care and should not be used as such. It can, however, be a complement to traditional medicine as well as being used in a non-medical way.

One of the most common herbs used by people with mild depression or winter blues is Lavender Officinalis. It has a calming effect on emotions as well as helping to bring clarity of thought. Lavender essential oil is considered to be one of the safest oils used for aromatherapy and can reduce tension, hysteria, and help you sleep. You might notice that lavender is used in some children’s bath wash or powder products as a means to help children relax so they, and their parents, can get some rest.

To make your own aromatherapy oil blends, you’ll want to have an unscented lotion or carrier oil as a base, such as olive oil, almond oil, or jojoba oil. Add a few drops of one or two essential oils to the carrier oil. You can also prepare larger quantities by adding a total of five or ten drops of essential oil to eight ounces of carrier oil. These oils can also be added to shampoo, conditioner, bubble baths, and Epsom salt.

Petitgrain, bergamot, lavender, and lemon are used to help brighten your mood and calm you. Mix together:

25 drops of petitgrain
30 drops of bergamot
20 drops of lavender
25 drops of lemon

This mixture can be stored in a 5 milliliter bottle. Put five to eight drops on a room diffuser, breathe from the bottle, add it to carrier oil, or add it to bath salts.

Citrus blends like the one above are particularly effective for brightening a person’s moods. Here are a few other blends you may want to try.

* For emotional wellbeing: 2 drops Clary sage, 2 drops Frankincense, and 1 drop Sandalwood. Blend this with one tablespoon almond oil and use it for a relaxing massage.

* To beat the winter blues: 4 drops Bergamot, 4 drops Lemon, and 2 drops Ylang-ylang. Can be added directly to bath water or mixed with unscented bubble bath.

These aromatherapy oil blends to help beat winter blues may not bring people with severe depression out of it, but they can do wonders for those who are mildly depressed or simply have the winter blahs. Give them a try; you may have found an easy method for brightening your mood during the long and cold winter months.

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