DrSugar has received more than a few questions regarding the Winter blues.
DrSugar has received more than a few questions regarding the Winter blues. If you feel like hibernating these days, read what he has to say about this seasonal problem.
December 22nd marked the first official day of Winter. As the days have grown shorter and shorter and the weather increasingly nasty, you may have noticed some subtle changes in your mood or increased fatigue and sleepiness. If this sounds familiar, you may suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Seasonal affective disorder affects millions of people every year, especially those living in the northern states where Winter can be cold, dark and seemingly endless. Common symptoms include depression, over-sleeping, weight gain, and decreased energy.
Experts believe that seasonal affective disorder is related to disruption of normal sleep-wake cycles, called circadian rhythms, and an imbalance of brain chemicals melatonin and serotonin. The best treatment is bright light therapy, which basically involves setting up a bright light source in your home. The theory is that this treatment can adjust your body’s circadian rhythm and possibly increase melatonin and serotonin levels. Occasionally SAD is so severe that light therapy alone is not enough. Symptoms of depression, especially if lasting more than two weeks, may require evaluation by a doctor or psychiatrist. For more information on seasonal affective disorder check out our health guide. Also, vote on our seasonal affective disorder poll and let us know if you are suffering and SAD.
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