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Let sunshine in to combat SAD


Published (Volume 76, No. 29)


The temperature drops, leaves fall, the turkey is cut, and Rudolph guides Santa’s sleigh, and before you know it the holidays are gone and so is your good mood. 

Do not feel as if you are the only one going through this seasonal change.  Thousands of Americans suffer from depression between the months of September and April each year, thus creating Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

SAD, also called the “winter blues”, is a disorder that occurs in the winter and early spring due to fewer hours of daylight. As the seasons change, the human body changes internally causing a lapse in time.

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, “researchers have proved that bright light makes a difference to the brain chemistry, although the exact means by which sufferers are affected is not yet known. It is not a psychosomatic or imaginary illness.”  Research has also shown that adolescents and women are more likely to be sufferers of SAD than anyone else.

Does this sound anything like you?  If so, do not worry. There are ways to beat SAD.

Here are a few self-care tips that will have you feeling back to yourself in no time.

• Add exercise to your daily routine.
• Try to talk to friends and family more.
• Take part in activities that you enjoy.
• Break large tasks into smaller ones.

If you feel that you have a severe case of SAD, some doctors suggest light therapy as treatment.  The treatment is to be in bright light everyday, or use a light box to create being in a well-lit sunny area. 

Symptoms may resurface each year, but following these tips will help the healing process begin. 

Do not let the gloomy days of winter and early spring determine your mood.  Try to stay in the good company of others and smile.  Maybe the light from within will overshadow the clouds on the outside.