When we turn back our clocks in the fall; it signals the upcoming holidays, driving home in the dark and winter weather. For some, this time of year is exciting. For others, however, it seems so overwhelming they feel completely down. It could be the holiday blues. Or it could be Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.).
According to Norman Rosenthal, MD, (retired from the National Institutes of Mental Health) six percent of the U.S. population is affected by S.A.D. An additional 14 percent suffers from a lesser form of seasonal mood change, known as winter blues.
How do you know if you are impacted by S.A.D.? Symptoms include:
- Depression that occurs at the same time every year
- Loss of energy
- Social withdrawal
- Weight gain
- Difficulty concentrating
Most people suffer from S.A.D. in the winter months, but it is possible to have it in the spring and summer. While the specific cause of S.A.D. is unknown, there are some factors that may be contributory, including:
- Reduced sunlight impacting your body’s “clock”
- Drop in serotonin, which again may drop due to reduced sunlight
- Disrupted melatonin levels, keeping you from sleeping or causing you to sleep too much
Keep Yourself Well
The best way to combat S.A.D. is to take care of yourself. Pay attention to your symptoms and thought patterns. If you find you are having thoughts of suicide or other harmful things, consider seeking professional help. For your day to day routine, remember to care for yourself by including:
- Seek a professional that is trained in functional endocrinology– he or she can find any triggers or exacerbations that could be causing, perpetuating or worsening your symptoms.
- Regular chiropractic treatment – keeping your spine aligned fixes all sorts of ailments and keeps headaches and fatigue at bay.
- Eat healthy – your desire to binge on carbs may be part of the S.A.D., so make a point to watch your diet.
- Minimize alcohol consumption – it’s the holidays and there are a lot of parties, but alcohol is a depressant so don’t’ consume too much
- Get outside – it’s actually a nice time of year in Dallas, so take some time to get outdoors during lunch breaks or other times during the day.
S.A.D. and winter blues can seem overwhelming, but with some focus on you and your health, and keeping those chiropractic adjustments going, you’ll have less symptoms and more enjoyable times this winter.