A Life Coaches Guide to Treating SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)
A Newsletter/Blog for those seeking to have a happier, healthier, more effective, and more meaningful Life.
Q. I get depressed in the winter. I was told this is connected to something called Seasonal Affective Disorder. Is there a treatment for this condition?
A. Yes. One of the main causes of SAD is lack of sunlight. Some people buy a special “light box. Use of the box 15 minutes a day can be a great help. Sometime the box doesn’t produce the desired result. In such a case here are other suggestions.
- Dietary supplements can offset, and in some cases, prevent SAD symptoms. Here are 5 supplements commonly recommend to patients that should be able to help Holly:1. 5-HTP: 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is an inexpensive nutrient supplement from an African bean that helps increase brain serotonin levels. When these levels get too low, they are believed to trigger depression. The body can make 5-HTP to convert into serotonin, but it must have enough tryptophan on hand to do so, which typically comes from food. By supplementing with 5-HTP, the body can quickly yet naturally replenish serotonin levels. Increased serotonin equals mood improvement – sometimes within minutes. “As an antidepressant, 5-HTP is so effective that it has repeatedly matched or outperformed many of the most established antidepressant drugs, including Prozac, without negative side effects so often associated with these drugs,” wrote Julia Ross, MA, author of The Mood Cure.2
2. Tyrosine: Tyrosine, a natural antidepressant, is the fuel our brain uses to make another natural antidepressant, catecholamines. Tyrosine is so effective in reversing physical and mental consequences of stress that it’s used by the US military. Tyrosine attributes to an overall sense of well-being by promoting powerful pleasure-inducing chemicals called “enkephalines” (cousins to endorphins).
3. Melatonin: Melatonin is a hormone that helps to balance sleep/wake cycles and mood. Melatonin is synthesized from the amino acid tryptophan by the pineal gland in the back of the brain. The perception of daylight in the eyes is a signal for the pineal gland to inhibit melatonin synthesis and release. At night or in the dark, the body’s melatonin production rises, and this increase in plasma melatonin is thought to be responsible for bringing on sleep. The change of seasons can disrupt the balance of melatonin levels, which can result in trouble sleeping and bad moods due to being tired. A melatonin supplement supports a balance, so sleep/wake cycles stay normal year-round.
4. SAM-e: S-adenosyl-methionine (SAM-e) is a methyl donor and participates in a wide variety of biochemical reactions, 1 of which is to provide support for healthy functioning of neurological processes. As a major source of methyl groups in the brain, SAM-e in conjunction with other methyl donor metabolites like betaine, choline, or folate might optimize serotonin and dopamine, as well as the brain’s sensitivity to them. A drop in serotonin negatively affects mood and causes depression, which is a key indicator of SAD.
5. St. John’s Wort: Although St. John’s Wort has a variety of traditional uses, extracts of this flowering perennial are best known for their mood balancing properties and widely recognized for their positive, supportive effects on mental and emotional function. Like many botanicals, St. John’s Wort has been used for thousands of years, but is now gaining immense popularity in the United States and abroad.
1. Denoon, D. “The Truth About Vitamin D: Why You Need Vitamin D.” WebMD. WebMD, 1 Jan. 2009. Web. 24 Oct 2014.
2. Romito K, Lewy A. “What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?” MyHealth.Alberta.ca. Healthwise, 5 Sept 2012. Web. 24 Oct 2014.
3. Ross J. “The Mood Cure.” Chapter 4. Page 61. Penguin Press. New York. 2002.
These nutritional tips come from From Gopesh Patel, RPh, the co-owner of New Drug Loft in Manhattan, and VLS and Lane Drugs in Brooklyn. He focuses on providing high-quality prescriptions and compounded medications, as well as personalized care for the 3 stores’ many customers. Patel is a member of the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists, Professional Compounding Centers of America, A4M, and he is a Wiley Protocol Premiere Pharmacist. He is a Preceptor for pharmacy students from the Long Island University College of Pharmacy and the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University in Boston.
Further Research for You
Feng Shui and SAD – https://fengshuibybridget.com/feng-shui-for-seasonal-affective-disorder/
Using Environmental Psychology and feng shui these ides may also be of help.
- Indoor Water Fountain
Water fountains have many benefits, and some of them may help to alleviate SAD when it strikes. The white noise of the running water provides an excellent soothing background noise that can help relieve anxiety or help you fall asleep. Water fountains can also add some humidity to the air inside a building – air that may dry out too much during winter heating, contributing to feelings of anxiousness and irritability. Fountains also counter the negative ions that collect indoors. They act as natural ionic air purifiers, helping you stay happy and healthy.
If you have an indoor water fountain, consider getting some indoor plants that will stay green through the winter season to set next to the water fountain. The plants can provide that extra bit of life that your room needs during winter, as well as making a great accent or centerpiece decoration.
- Add color. Vibrant, healthy greens and warm yellows help to raise the ch’i while controlling the earth element and reducing the metal element of today’s heavy trendy designer grey and depressing taupe’s. I’m not suggesting you go to the expense of painting your walls, I am suggesting you add soft, plush coloured textiles and accessories.
- Increase the lighting in the room. Open blinds and curtains during the day to maximize and lift the ch’i. Introduce a couple of floor lamps to dark corners.
- Mirrors strategically placed can increase natural light from windows. However, be careful when using mirrors, their placement is crucial. An incorrect placement can cause less-than-excellent results.
- Add living, breathing plants to the space. Plants have the capacity to cure a multiple of feng shui challenges. When choosing plants look for ones with broad rounded leaves. Also, think like Goldie Locks, not too small and not too big. Providing you have the space medium plants are usually just right.
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