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Cross the Bridge to a Healthier Lifestyle.

Ask Sunny

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Dear Sunny,

I have difficulty getting through the Winter. I have Seasonal Affective Disorder. Can you help with any suggestions? I don’t want to take and anti-depressant.

— Sad with S.A.D.

Dear Sad,

I’m sorry that you have trouble transitioning to the Winter season. You can guess Sunny isn’t particularly fond of the gloomy days in this part of the country either. But other than moving to brighter climates, here are a few remedies that may help you survive.

First try to get as much light as you can. This may require purchasing full-spectrum light bulbs and sitting near them as often as possible. There are light boxes which are costly and a bit more elaborate if the bulbs don’t work. Light Therapy works by helping to shut down the hormone melatonin which makes one sleepy. Good at night, not so good in the day.

Personality changes, carb-craving, anxiety, PMS and heightened fibromyalgia symptoms may also be present with SAD. It is felt that low serotonin is a contributing factor in all of these conditions. Some good supplements to try for elevating this hormone include St. John’s Wort, 5HTP and SAMe. Tryptophan-containing foods like turkey and milk may also help raise serotonin in the brain, so a turkey sandwich and a glass of milk might be a good choice for one meal a day.

Use a digestive enzyme with hydrochloric acid. Inability to digest and absorb nutrients is thought by some doctors to lead to syndromes like SAD. Low levels of vitamin D may also be linked to poor digestion and this sunshine vitamin is needed for good mood among other things. Taking some extra D3 in your regimen may also help.

The aromatherapy oil Sweet Orange can be diffused in your home on a regular basis. It is said to have a “sunshine effect” which will make you feel good no matter what is going on. Maybe it just reminds one of Florida oranges!

If none of these suggestions help or your symptoms are severe, please consult a classically trained homeopath. S/he can tailor a remedy especially for your personal needs. There is no need to suffer when help is available.

Hope these ideas help you not to be so sad. SAD is a very real issue for many people. Fortunately, Spring always follows the Winter! So there is something to look forward too. In the meantime, there is no need to suffer when there is help available. Good Luck!

— Beaming with Health,