Alternative Answers for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression. Most people tend to
slow down a little in the winter and experience some form of "winter blues", but
full-blown SAD can be extremely disabling.
SAD is often the result of the winter season when the days are shorter. People
tend to sleep more, become sedentary, crave carbohydrates, gain weight, and
avoid social interaction. Psychologically, they are depressed.
Attaining a balance of yin-yang or light and dark is innate in the Chinese
Medicine and Feng Shui philosophies. Although we cannot see the electromagnetic
frequencies of the earth or planets, it is important for us to live in an
environment that allows us to be synchronized with these forces.
Many sufferers are often unable to function without continuous treatment.
Depending on the person and the geographical location, the depression can last
for several months with symptoms such as overeating with carbohydrate craving
and weight gain, sleeping more than usual, fatigue, and social withdrawal. It is
the long duration of the symptoms that distinguish SAD from the so-called
It is not known why some people (those between 18 and 30) are more likely to
suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder and why it seems to affect women more
than men ... unless the statistics are based on the fact that women are more
ready to admit to depression and ask for help than men.
There are several alternative therapies for treating seasonal depression. One,
which has been used with remarkable success is Light Therapy. Light and color
have been valued throughout history as sources of healing. Today, the
therapeutic applications of light and color are being investigated in major
hospitals and research centers worldwide. Results indicate that full-spectrum,
ultraviolet, colored, and laser light can have therapeutic value for a range of
conditions from chronic pain and depression to immune disorders.
The oldest form of light therapy is natural sunlight, which is the ultimate
source of full-spectrum light. For those living in areas that see very little
sunlight this time of year, there are other options; full-spectrum light
therapy, bright light therapy, various forms of UV light therapy, syntonic
optometry, cold laser therapy, and visual color therapy.
For treating SAD, white light therapy is often preferred over the full-spectrum
light because the additional UV light found in full-spectrum light is not
necessary to achieve the antidepressant effect of the therapy, and can be
harmful to the eyes. Different wavelengths stimulate different aspects of our
physiology, all playing a vital role in our functioning. We especially need
natural light with its subtle variations that act on our well-being. The rhythm
of dark and light from day and night and the full-spectrum of light is essential
to our circadian rhythms (biological clock), endocrine, immune, sexual and
Depression may be the result of inadequate or improper nourishment. If the brain
is not receiving sufficient fuel, it will not function properly.
Vitamin B deficiency is often a physical cause of depression.
The best approach to combating depression is to eat more wholefoods, give up
sugar, tea, coffee, alcohol.
L-Tyrosine is essential for alleviating stress by boosting production of
adrenaline. It also raises dopamine levels which influence moods. (Do not take
if you are taking an MAO inhibitor drug.) It should be taken on an empty stomach
with 50 mgs Vitamin B6 and 100-500 mgs of Vitamin C for better absorption. Best
taken at bedtime.
5HTP is often used in the place of SSRI drugs and L-Tryptophan and may help in
serotonin deficiency related conditions such as severe depression, epilepsy,
anxiety, insomnia, weight loss and addiction. Also studied for PMS, migraine and
chronic tension headaches. 5-HTP is only used in serotonin production. 5-
hydroxytryptophan is also able to pass through the blood-brain barrier easily,
unlike tryptophan, which can only pass through the barrier by using the same
transport molecule that carries leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
Increase your intake of vitamin B complex, 100 mgs 3 times daily Plus extra
Vitamin B 5, 500 mgs daily, the most potent anti-stress vitamin.
Vitamin C, 2,000-10,000 mgs daily in divided doses.
Increasing your Potassium 80 mgs, Calcium 1,500-2,000 mgs daily and Magnesium
1,000 mgs daily is helpful.
Low doses of Melatonin seem to help many people by regulating balance in the
body. Try using half the recommended dose for the first 3-4 days and monitor
Meditating. Quieting your mind for 10-15 minutes is a wonderful release.
Aromatherapy is very effective. Jasmine and Bergamot oils are uplifting and
refreshing, while lavender is calming and relaxing. Put a little on your wrists,
or a piece of cloth you can carry with you. In a pan of hot water drop about 6-8
drops of oil to diffuse it into the air, or perhaps you have your own diffuser.
I always like to stress one other factor, which plays a major role in our
mind-body connection. That is our belief system. It often is what you believe it
to be. Your Belief System is an important part in healing.
Allow your self, change, time off, a different path. Seek what it is that is at
the root of your dis-ease or comfort level. Address it. Believe that you can do
The insertion of very fine needles into a series of acupuncture points helps to
increase endorphins and helps with mood swings. Acupuncture boosts the
metabolism and increases the way the body functions on a visceral level. At the
organ level, it assists the body to work at its most optimal improving all body
MOVE!!!! Exercise also plays a MAJOR role in the treatment of depression.
Exercise is very helpful in depression because it stimulates circulation and
releases serotonins in the brain, the hormones that encourage contentment and an
all around feeling of happiness.
It not only keep the body physically and mentally fit but also provides
recreation and mental relaxation. It is nature's best tranquilizer. Exercise
produces chemical and psychological changes that improves your mental health. It
changes the levels of hormones in blood and may elevate your beta-endorphins
(mood-affecting brain chemicals). Exercise may also improve the function of the
autonomic nervous system.
Exercise also gives a feeling of accomplishment and thus reduces the sense of
helplessness. Some form of active exercise, must be undertaken each day at a
regular hour. To be really useful, exercise should be done in such a manner as
to bring into action all the muscles of the body in a natural way. Walking is
one such exercise. It is , however, so gentle that one must walk several miles
in a brisk manner to constitute a fair amount of exercise. Aerobics (low impact)
is even better, for it increases cardiovascular health and wipes out the focus
of depression and makes you feel wonderful! 3-5 days a week at 30 -40 minutes
should be your goal. The depressive mood can be OVERCOME by activity. Those who
are depressive will forget their misery by doing something. They should turn
away from themselves and consider others. At home they can take to decorating,
repairing or constructing something new. The pleasure of achievement overcomes
the distress of misery. Stop making excuses!
Water is essential in any healing process. Distilled water is the best. 6-8
eight ounces glasses per day.
Diet has a "profound effect" on the mental health of a person. Even a single
nutritional deficiency can cause depression in susceptible people. Nutritional
therapy can be used to build up brain chemicals, such as serotonin and
norepinephrine, that affect mood and are often lacking in depressed people. Eat
foods rich in B vitamins, such as whole grains, green vegetables, eggs and fish.
The diet of people suffering from depression should completely exclude tea,
coffee, alcohol, chocolate and cola, all white flour products,sugar, food
colorings, chemical additives, white rice and strong condiments.
The diet should be restricted to three meals. Fruits can be taken in the morning
for breakfast with milk and a handful of nuts and seeds. Lunch may consist of
steamed vegetables, whole wheat bread and a glass of butter-milk. For dinner,
green vegetable salad and all available sprouts such as alfalfa seeds, cottage
cheese or a glass of butter-milk would be ideal. This is one example. Do what is
right for you! Two additional snacks between 100-120 calories can also be eaten
in order to keep up blood sugar levels and metabolism. DO NOT over eat.
Andrew Pacholyk, MS. L.Ac
Therapies for healing
mind, body, spirit
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