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Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Guest Post: Liz Davies Talks About Seasonal Affective Disorder

I don't talk a whole lot about specific mental disorders. But, as a person that experiences a bit of seasonal affective disorder myself, Liz Davies' offer to do a post on it really intrigued me. From a disability standpoint, seasonal affective disorder is extremely debilitating for many people and, like most mental conditions, still isn't discussed nearly enough.

Thank you, Liz, for continuing the dialogue.


Seasonal Affective Disorder: How to Perk Up During the Winter Months


Seasonal affective disorder, which is also referred to as SAD, is a condition that affects approximately 9 percent of the population. The symptoms of this disorder begin in late September and last throughout the winter months. However, it is important to note that a small percentage of people experience seasonal affective disorder during the spring and summer months. Although only nine percent of people experience this disorder many people experience a change in mood during the colder months. This could be to a variety of things but many people do not get to be in the sun as often or their exercise gets cut back.

Doctors have not been able to pinpoint the exact cause of seasonal affective disorder, but they do believe that changes in the circadian rhythm and a drop in serotonin can make a person more susceptible to developing this disorder. Seasonal affective disorder can be a very difficult to deal with, but there are a few things that people can do to manage this condition. Below are some ways that people can stay positive during with what can be a slower time of the year.

Exercise


Exercise is a natural antidepressant because it triggers the release of endorphins. Endorphins are often called the feel-good hormones because they have a calming effect on the body. People should make it a goal to exercise for at least 30 minutes every day. It is best to join the gym or work out at home with exercise DVDS during the winter months. Those who prefer to exercise outside should make sure that they wear layered clothing.

Eat a healthy diet


Diet alone cannot cure seasonal affective disorder, but it can help improve a person’s mood. Cantaloupes, apricot, kiwi, oranges and spinach are rich in the antioxidants that help boost mood. It is also important to make sure that one eats plenty of lean protein. Protein has been shown to increase alertness. Tuna, poultry, beans and peas are excellent sources of protein. Vitamin D is another nutrient that can help reduce some of the symptoms of SAD and cheer up just about everyone. Studies have shown that people’s vitamin D levels are lower during the winter months. A vitamin D deficiency makes a person more susceptible to developing SAD. Yogurt, salmon, nonfat milk and liver are rich in vitamin D.

Talk to family members or close friends


People should also make sure that they talk to their family members and friends on a regular basis. It is much easier for one to cope with the feelings of depression if communicates with his loved ones. If a person’s loved ones live a long distance away, he should call them or keep in touch with them via social media.

Exercising, eating healthy and keeping in touch with loved ones are just a few ways that people stay happy and healthy during the winter months!

Liz Davies is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer especially interested in health and wellness. She wants to make a difference in people’s lives because she sees how cancer has devastated so many people in this world. Liz also likes running, playing lacrosse, reading and playing with her dog, April. If you would like to contact her she can be reached at healthylizd@gmail.com

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