Winter Blues (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

As the sun starts to hide behind clouds and days get colder and shorter many of us find ourselves struggling with motivation, energy and mood. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons. It usually starts in the fall and continues into the winter months.

Early symptoms you may notice in the Fall include:

• Oversleeping
• Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
• Weight gain
• Tiredness or low energy

As the winter progresses so do the symptoms and they may come to include:

• Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
• Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
• Having low energy
• Having problems with sleeping
• Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
• Feeling sluggish or agitated
• Having difficulty concentrating
• Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
• Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide

The specific cause of seasonal affective disorder remains unknown. Some factors that may come into play include:

• Your biological clock (circadian rhythm). The reduced level of sunlight in fall and winter may disrupt your body’s internal clock.

• Serotonin levels. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that affects mood, that may trigger depression.

• Melatonin levels. The change in season can disrupt the balance of the body’s level of melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood.

It’s normal to have some days when you feel down. But if you feel down for days at a time and you can’t get motivated to do activities you normally enjoy, come and see me. This is especially important if your sleep patterns and appetite have changed, you turn to alcohol for comfort or relaxation, or you feel hopeless or think about suicide.

There are MANY nutritional, homeopathic and herbal/botanical options to get you back to your usual self.