Bye Bye Winter Blues

We know it’s coming. Those dark, dreary, rainy Oregon days. The winter blues can develop into something serious, called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It affects about 5% of the population mainly in northern latitudes such as Oregon.

What is SAD?

SAD is a form of depression that begins and ends during a specific season each year. Symptoms of SAD include increased need for sleep, daytime fatigue, irritability, decreased activity, decreased concentration and ability to think clearly, decreased sex drive, and increased appetite, particularly for sweets and starchy carbohydrates.

How do ‘light boxes’ help?

  • Production of serotonin (a.k.a. “The Happiness Hormone”) is triggered by bright light like sunlight in the summer. The light box can emulate sunshine. 
    • Serotonin helps calm the brain’s response to stress and boosts overall feelings of happiness. This is why people tend to feel happier and more energetic on a bright, sunny day.
  • Light boxes should be used 20-60 min a day first thing in morning.
  • Costco and other retailers sell them for around $50
  • Sit approximately 12-15 inches in front of the light for about 30 minutes each day while doing another activity like eating breakfast, working, reading, or using a computer.

Are supplements helpful?

  • Vitamin D – it’s the sunshine vitamin.
  • There is a health disease incidence prevention chart, that is used with bloodwork to determine vitamin D levels
    • Keeping levels above 60 mitigate having bad stuff like cancer, cardiovascular disease, strokes and multiple sclerosis
  • Curcumin – 1000 mg day was found to be as effective as Prozac after 6 weeks.
    • With the cold and rainy weather all the autoimmune disorders generally intensify and curcumin is also a great anti-inflammatory agent.
  • Lithium Orotate – Studies show promise here and indifferent areas throughout the world communities that have high levels of lithium in water supplies have less incidence of crime, divorce etc.
  • 5HTP and/or tryptophan

How is ‘chocolate’ beneficial?

  • A recent study by a London PHD showed people who consume dark chocolate have noticed a decrease in their depressive symptoms.

If you have symptoms of SAD, seek the help of a trained medical professional. We treat many patients here at our Tigard, Oregon clinic who are suffering from debilitating symptoms and are happy to lift your spirits this winter.

Posted in Health & Wellness, Mental Health, Symptoms & Conditions

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