Archive for July, 2017

Part 111: SAD aka Seasonal Affective Disorder

Sunday, July 23rd, 2017

In this final blog on SAD, I am going to discuss a few more facets of the condition. First, its history.

SAD was formally described and named in 1984 by Norman R. Rosenthal and colleagues at the National Institute of Mental Health. Rosenthal gave the disorder its name and pioneered the first treatment that proved somewhat effective for SAD.

Winter SAD seems to be caused by a biochemical or hormonal imbalance due to the shortening of daylight and the lack of sunlight in winter.

The status of SAD was changed from a “unique mood disorder” to a “specifier, called with a seasonal pattern, for a major depressive disorder that occurs at a specific time of the year and fully remits otherwise.” In other words, it is a major depressive condition that comes and goes with either the winter or the summer.

SAD is now recognized as a common disorder. 1.4 per cent of the population of Florida suffer from it and 9.9 of the Alaskan population, to name just two states. Throughout the U.S. thete are considerable numbers of people who suffer from either winter or summer SAD.

To summarize the causes, let us begin by saying that the exact cause is unknown. However, the onset of the condition is associated with three factors: the person’s biological clock or circadian rhythm, and reduction of serotonin and/ or melatonin levels. Reduction of sunlight in the fall and winter may be the cause of winter-onset SAD. The reduction of sunlight plays havoc with the body’s biological clock, which leads to a depressive state. Also, changes in season may have an effect on the balance of serotonin and melatonin in the body, which disrupts mood and sleep levels.

Some of the more specific causes of “summer” or “reverse SAD” have to do with the higher temperatures and the lower production of both serotonin and melatonin, which are mood regulators. This reduction increases the risk for depression and other mood changes.

In my previous blogs, I have included a variety of treatments for SAD in either of its forms.

Whatever you may do, don’t ignore the symptoms. If the simpler methods (more exercise better nutrition, light boxes, etc.) do not work, you may need the advice of a medicsl doctor or psychologist. Perhaps, medication and/or psychotherapy might be necessary.

We should not allow changes attached to the seasons to adversely affect our lives and make us miserable.

More About SAD

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

What causes Sad or Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Lack of sunlight

What can lack of sunlight cause?

1. Upset your “biological clock,” which controls your sleep-wake pattern and other circadian rhythms.

2. Cause problems with serotonin, a brain chemical that affects mood.

As stated yesterday, some symptoms are:

1. Feeling sad, grumpy, moody, or anxious.

2. Losing interest in your usual activities.

3. Eating more and craving carbohydrates, such as pasta and bread.

4. Gaining weight.

5. Sleeping more but still feeling tired.

6. Having trouble concentrating.

If it is winter SAD, the symptoms start in September or October, last through the cold months and start to disappear around April or May.

if it is summer SAD, it begins around March or April, and you feel better around October or November.

Now you are ready for remedies!

Medical treatment includeszantidepressants and psychotherapy. But what about home remedies?

1. Light Therapy Boxes

These are used for Winter SAD. Light therapy boxes emit light that is like sunshine for the patient. This treatment may help a person recover from this disorder . Actually, light therapy boxes have brighter lights than those of regular light bulbs, and their wavelengths would be necessary for a person to sit in front of the light box for about thirty minutes a day to to activate the body’s internal clock and reduce natural melatonin release. It is best to use the light box early in the morning upon awakening.

2. Exercise

Exercise is another remedy for SeasobalAfgective Fidorder. Why is exercise important? It promotes the production of chemicals that help us to feel good and fight the depressive state and brain fog.

Actually, walking for 30 minutes on a treadmill for ten consecutive days can lead to a considerable reduction of depression . More important than the duration and intensity are the frequency and consistency. So do it every day! A fitness class is highly recommended! It is frequent and consistent.

3. Outside Exposure

For the fall and winter type of SAD, exposure to the sun is a wonderful way to manage SAD. What could be better than a long walk, sitting on a bench in the park or even eating lunch in the park, even when it is cold or cloudy.

Did you know that exposure to the sun increases vitamin D levels, which helps to reduce depression.

More on future posts. Material based upon article by Linda Beckmann, entitled “Seasonal Affective Disorder Causes, Symptoms and Remedies.”

Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

Seasonal affective Disorder or SAD is a condition, characterized by depression, that is related to a change in seasons. It begins and ends at about the same time every year. For most people, the symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months as they consume your energy and increase your tendency to be moody. Less frequently, but just as valid, SAD can also cause depression in the spring and in the early summer.

SAD can be treated with light therapy(photo-therapy), psychotherapy and medications.

SAD is a real condition and not just a case of the “winter or summer blues.”

Professional help is needed to keep mood and motivation balanced throughout the year. If affected, one should not decide to “tough it out” on one’s own. Even if symptoms begin as mild, it may become more severe later in the season.

SAD is a subtype of major depression that may begin and end, based upon seasons. So having SAD may include symptoms of major depression, including…

1. Feeling depressed most of the day, every day.
2. Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness
3. Experiencing low energy levels
4. No longer having interest in
activities once enjoyed
5. Insomnia
6. Changes in appetite or a loss
in weight
7. Feelings of sluggishness or
8. Difficulty in concentrating
9. Frequent thoughts of death or

Winter SAD includes symptoms of…

1. Irritability
2. Tiredness or low energy
3. Problems getting along with
other people
4. Hypersensitivity to rejection
5. Heavy, “leaden” feeling in the
arms or legs
6. Oversleeping
8. Appetite changes, including a
strong craving for foods high
in carbs.
9. Weight gain

Symptoms of summer- onset seasonal affective disorder , aka summer depression, may possibly include…
1. Depression
2. Insomnia
3. Weight loss
4. Poor appetite
6. Agitation or anxiety

Remember that most of us have days when we feel down. However, if you have the “blues” for days at a time and cannot motivate yourself to do activities that you would normally enjoy, it is recommended that you see your doctor. It is most important if you have noticed a change in your sleep patterns and appetite and if you have experienced any of the following…

1. Hopelessness
2. Thoughts of suicide
3. Turning to alcohol for comfort
or relaxation

More tomorrow!

Material based upon information online from the Mayo Clinic

Finally! A New Blog!

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

I know! No excuses for not writing in a while. But I’m going to write a few anyway, my friends and readers.

Those of you who conscientiously follow my blogs know that I am basically a happy person who normally loves to write, and, although I am not currently working on a new novel, I delight in writing on this page, on my three community pages and, of course, on Facebook. Now I’m back on all of the above. But why the hiatus?

There’s something about summer that is, of course, exciting and beautiful… the flowers in abundance, the gorgeous trees in bloom and, on perfect days, the 70 ish degree warmth and summer breeze! Kids and many adults are on vacation, whether they enjoy local places of interest or travel away beyond the powers of imagination!

But summer is also enervating sometimes. We have heat waves! We get tired more easily, even if we try to stay inside in air conditioning or in shady, more comfy outdoor areas like maybe a backyard hammock under a tree, which is pleasant if the temperature is under 85 degrees!

But some of us, like me, often get more lazy and tired over the warm, summer months! For instance, I think about the past sometimes too much… loved ones whom I have lost and miss… people close to me who are suffering from serious, chronic illnesses and the strength and vitality I myself had in the past that is affected by medications that are absolutely necessary for my continued good or even fair health! I guess negativity affects all of us sometimes… even someone like me who is basically optimistic, spiritual and believes in a paradisaic society promised by God and the promise of everlasting life. Negativity, anxiety and fear at times touches all of us, but, for me, for some reason, it affects me more during the summer.

But I feel more optimistic and even happy now that we are at a mid-point of summer. I have a few more hobbies, including art, and my husband looks and feels a little better.

So I am going to write more and more and hope you enjoy the results! After all, it is a two-way street! I have to enjoy writing for you, and you have to find some value in reading what I write! I hope we both will find fulfillment in the process! Love….

Remembering the Good,Old Days…

Thursday, July 6th, 2017

Somehow, things never seem as good as they once were when we were young! We remember the food as fresher, tastier and more succulent. Soft drinks were more refreshing, and activities were more exciting! It’s probably not that everything has changed that much. It is more that our perception of things is altered as we get older. The past looks a lot better than it actually was!

Isn’t it true that every new experience is exciting and sometimes even mindboggling to a young person, especially a small child? Most likely, that is because children, especially, but even teens, to a certain extent, are like blank pages that life is constantly writing upon.

Therefore, when we get older, we remember aspects of our lives as they appeared to us then. They are probably so much brighter, fun-filled and more exciting than they actually were! I guess that applies to my memories of summers,too! And probably your bits of nostalgia as well.

But I nevertheless remember with joy how my dad got our family out of the sweltering heat of Brooklyn each summer in exchange for cool nights and days at my grandmother’s summer rooming house in Rockaway Beach. Joy was looking forward to the beach almost every day, parties, excursions to our favorite amusement park, Playland, and games of various kinds, including Mah Jong, with relatives and newfound friends.

Old-fashioned summers also included childhood innocence, sweet daydreams, and a healthy and strong body that allowed me to move more nimbly than I have in years. There were carefree days and evenings that never seemed to end, and wonderful adventures that only children can appreciate!

Being a woman of faith, I can see myself with friends and relatives one day in a simply beautiful place where innocence and sweetness are the norms, life everlasting is filled with a balance of work and fun, and we can run with the strength and endurance of our best childhood memories! Yes, a strong, youthful body, along with wisdom and vigor…and wonderful people to share it with, peace and the justice that only God’s blessed kingdom can provide: this is the best of my summer memories in the every day reality of an eternal paradise! And it is not a dream! All this is promised to us in the Bible in Psalm 37 and Isaiah, to name just a couple of Bible books!