Natural Treatments for Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a condition that tends to cause people to feel depressed or fatigued, specifically in the winter. This is due to a lack of daylight exposure, which can mess with our internal circadian rhythms. The symptoms of SAD can include sadness, over sleeping, and difficulty with concentration. Unlike like regular depression, which can cause a lack of appetite, SAD actually makes sufferers crave carbohydrates more. SAD affects between five and 10 percent of the American population, with symptoms appearing to vanish once spring arrives.
People with SAD may not know they have it, due to its wide array of symptoms. If you suspect you suffer from this disorder, the good news is that it’s treatable. First and foremost, speak with your health care providers to ensure it is SAD and not actual depression. SAD is easy to treat without the need of prescription drugs, and simply takes a few lifestyle changes to overcome.
Once you have been diagnosed with SAD, your doctor may recommend investing in a full-spectrum light box. These light boxes mimic daylight, and only 30 minutes of exposure can improve mood. The light box can be placed near your desk at work or in your living room at home; as long as you can actually see it, you will be good to go. These light boxes are an inexpensive and natural way to get the light your body needs to function properly.
Even if you live in an area where wind chills are a serious buzz kill, it is still imperative to get out and about. One thing that may cause SAD is the isolation that cold and snow tends to cause. Many folks turn into habits from November to April, which can seriously affect your mood. Try to schedule lunch dates with friends or host a warm and inviting potluck. Interacting with your friends can help decrease symptoms of SAD. Also, do not forget to remain active. If you’re used to jogging during warm weather, see if there is an indoor track in your area or other option for indoor exercise that won’t cost an arm and a leg.
Another great way to treat SAD is to visit your chiropractor. Getting adjusted has been shown to boost mood, including reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Your chiropractor can detect any spinal misalignments that may be contributing to your SAD, and it may only take a simple adjustment to turn that frown upside down. Discuss your options with your doctor and chiropractor if you think you suffer from SAD – natural and effective relief may be closer than you think.