Are You SAD? Natural Treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder

Fall is hereóand for many adults, so is seasonally triggered depression. As many as 10 percent of Americans suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or winter depression, especially in the Northern parts of our country where winter days are short and dark. Some people turn to their physicians to get a prescription to treat their symptoms of loss of energy, oversleeping, overeating, and mild depression. But what can you do if you donít want to pop a pill?

There are ways to deal with the impact of SAD naturally?

Many individuals suffering from SAD choose light therapy. Light boxes providing 10,000 lux are used to stimulate light exposure. I have a patient who took the summer off from using her light box and started back up in late August, with 10 minutes each morning. By December, when it’s especially dark in the Pacific Northwest, she’ll sit in front of the box for half an hour before heading out to work each day.

It’s also important to focus on a healthy diet. Avoid simple sugars and white flours and instead choose healthy proteins and complex carbohydrates.† Many studies have demonstrated the excellent effects of exercise in the treatment of depression; get out and move, despite the dark and dreary weather.

It’s also important to maintain a healthy level of Vitamin D. Ask your doctor for a recommendation on the right dosage for you, and meet this with a combination of vitamins and foods, including fish, cereals, and milk.

And on those rare sunny days during the fall and winter, get outside or sit beside a window to increase your exposure to natural light. If you’re able to do so, plan a trip to a sunny locale during the darkest days of the season.

Donít give in to SAD!

Fight back with:

Light

Good nutrition

Exercise

Vitamin D

Natural sunshine when possible

Photo by Dan

 

36 comments

Patricia H.
Patricia H.3 years ago

thanks for sharing

Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

KS Goh
KS Goh4 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Magdalena R.
Magdalena R.4 years ago

I've always said I hate winters because they make me go a little crazy. It's so much more difficult to be productive, to wake up at a decent hour, and to focus on important things. It definitely makes it much harder to enjoy life and I'm much more likely to lose interest and give up on things I used to care about. But then I live in Portland, and once the winter starts, it's very rare to see a sunny day... I might have to try out a light box.

Zee Kallah
Past Member 4 years ago

I think you speak of beautiful sadness.

That sadness captures the soul.

Zee Kallah
Past Member 4 years ago

I think you speak of beautiful sadness.

That sadness captures the soul.

Rita White
Rita White4 years ago

thanks

Stella Nobrega-Garcia

Many thanks for posting!

Emma S.
Emma S.4 years ago

I normally start to get low and claustrophobic as soon as autumn approaches. It feels like a guillotine falling with every dark evening. This year I'm looking for positives - I'm asking everyone I know for good things about autumn, and am collating them to refer to whenever I feel low. If anyone has any they'd like to offer, do please feel free to leave a comment on my page - thank you!

Karen F.
karen Friedmn4 years ago

As much as I love the fall and winter, I can't stand the gray skies for months on end.