Natural Cures For Seasonal Depression
Come winter and you invariably start to feel low. Cheer up, you’ve only the winter blues to blame! However, there’s little to cheer about if your acute winter depression makes you suicidal; it has been known to do just that for some! This ailment has been given the apt acronym of SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder. It occurs mostly in women in their twenties and forties. Read on to find out more about it and its natural cures.
Symptoms of SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder
It’s well known that changing seasons affect animals. It alters their behavior, habits and metabolism. It has to, for it holds the key to their survival. However, very little is known about the effect of changing sunlight patterns on human moods and body chemistry. One interesting fact, however, is that the further away you’re from the equator, the more you’re likely to suffer from SAD, as the daylight hours reduce drastically. You’d be surprised to know that in Nordic countries up to twenty per cent of the population suffers from this dreadful condition, giving rise to an alarmingly high rate of winter suicides!
So, it’s no surprise SAD leads to a variety of symptoms that include craving and stuffing on carbohydrates and sugary foods, leading to weight gain; low mood, giving rise to depression and negative feelings; anxiety, irritability and tension; lethargy due to lack of motivation, leading to extreme fatigue; lack of libido; sleep problems, ranging from insomnia to early morning waking or difficulty in waking up. All this lowers the immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to the common winter ailments.
Although, this affliction starts in September, it’s at its worst in January and February. Its cause has been linked to melatonin, a sleep-related hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain. Since, the production of melatonin increases in the dark, the short and dark winter months are most suited for the symptoms of depression.
Natural cures for SAD
Natural cures are best suited to counter SAD. Let’s see what these cures are:
a. Light therapy box:
Especially designed light therapy box provides five to ten times the amount of light normally produced by domestic lighting. To get full benefits, you need to sit daily for at least fifteen to forty five minutes, exposed to the light. In countries with less sunlight in the winter months, “light cafes” become the popular watering holes, where people not only socialize, but also enjoy the benefits of light therapy!
b. Soak in the sun:
This combination of outdoor activity and sunlight is generally very helpful in alleviating symptoms of depression and despondency. So, those prone to SAD must plan to spend their winter holidays in the sun.
c. Sleeping habits:
There is a tendency to sleep more during winter that you can very well do without. This, at times, causes SAD. So, maintain a regular sleep schedule to keep this ailment at bay.
c. St John’s Wort:
This yellow-flowered wild herb may well be one of the most effective natural cures for depression, without the side effects of prescription drugs. It’s generally a safe alternative to prescription antidepressants.
Some specific yogic exercises act on the pineal gland and may regulate the production of melatonin, alleviating SAD.
e. Drink milk:
Milk contains a form of vitamin D called soltriol that helps you keep in sync with the sun, thus preventing the occurrence of SAD.
SAD is a condition best avoided. But, if it does afflict, opt for natural cures. They are safe and effective with no side effects. However, whatever remedies you may adopt, don’t forget to consult your physician first.