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Posts Tagged ‘Winter Blues’

Dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) As the Days Become Darker. By Our Student Pharmacist for September, Kelly Brookbank.

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As painstakingly sad as it is to admit, daylight savings time is coming to an end. On November 6, we will be setting our clocks backwards by one hour, meaning there will be less daylight in the evening hours. As winter approaches, the days get shorter and the temperatures continue to drop, making it a greater challenge to maintain our fitness and overall health.

During the winter months, some of us get a case of the “winter blues,” leaving us less energized and depressed. The “winter blues” are in fact tied to a real condition. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a clinical diagnoses requiring medical attention. It is not typically common or severe within the general population, but those with depressive disorders may be affected more.

SAD is a subtype of mood disorders, such as depression, that repeatedly occurs during particular seasons. It is not surprising that winter depression, which onsets in the fall and winter months and remits in the spring, is the most common type of SAD.

Treatment options for SAD include antidepressants, light therapy, and psychotherapy.

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Symptoms of winter SAD:

  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Having a bigger appetite than usual
  • Craving starchy or sweet foods
  • Weight gain
  • Irritability
  • Feeling rejected
  • Feeling as though your arms and legs are weighted down

Adjunctive therapy is encouraged:

  • Sleep hygiene
  • Daily walks outside
  • Aerobic exercise
  • Enhanced indoor lighting with regular lamps and fixtures
  • Awakening from sleep with a light

During the winter months, it can be very challenging to continue working out, especially in natural sunlight. It is always important to uphold a healthy lifestyle, but sustaining it throughout the winter can help maintain your physical and mental health and may even keep some of those winter blues away!!

If you feel like you suffer from SAD or have thoughts of harming yourself, please contact a healthcare professional immediately.

Resources:

Seasonal Affective Disorder. UpToDate. Wolters Kluwer. Waltham, MA. Accessed 9/18/2016

Seasonal Affective Disorder. Patient Education- Disease and Procedure. Lexicomp. Wolters Kluwer. Hudson, OH. Available at https://online.lexi.com. Accessed 9/21/2016

Photo copyright, Charles Schulz, “Peanuts” comic stip.