Saturday, January 12, 2013

Natural Solutions for Seasonal Affective Disorder

Do the winter months get you down?  If so, there may be a good reason for your change in mood.  Many individuals are faced with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) during the fall and winter months, while the days are shorter and turn dark earlier.

Dr. Davis wants patients to know that SAD is a common condition that can often be managed by a combination of natural therapies and lifestyle modifications.  Read Dr. Davis' suggestions on how to maintain emotional well-being all winter long.

Symptoms of SAD

Like other forms of depression, SAD leads to trouble sleeping, anxiety, social withdrawal, feelings of helplessness, lack of energy, appetite changes, and difficulty concentrating.

Finding Balance in Mind, Body and Spirit

One of the guiding principals of chiropractic is that the mind, body and spirit are connected and influence each other.  Although Dr. Davis doesn't treat psychological problems, patients who receive chiropractor care often report that chiropractic care helps alleviate not only physical ailments but mental and emotional problems as well.

5 Natural Solutions for SAD

Light Therapy:  Because SAD is triggered by shorter hours of daylight during the fall and winter, many individuals find relief from light therapy.  Light therapy is easy to use, lacks side affects and has proven to be efficient for many people who deal with SAD.

Regular Exercise:  Regular exercise is an excellent way to ward off stress and anxiety, as well as to maintain optimal physical health.  In fact, research indicates that seasonal depression responds to exercise as well as it does light therapy.

Increase Vitamin D:  Research has shown that vitamin D, a nutrient necessary for absorption of calcium and phosphorous, may counteract SAD.  The body synthesizes vitamin D through sunlight exposure, though during the winter months, the lack of sunlight can cause a vitamin D deficiency.  The best natural sources for vitamin D is through foods such as: fatty fish such as herring, salmon, catfish, sardines, tuna and eel.  Cod liver oil is a great, potent source, while smaller amounts of vitamin D are found in eggs and liver.  Supplements are available in your health food store as well.

Melatonin:  Melatonin is a hormone produces in the brain in response to the light and darkness cycles of the day and night.  It also helps regulate sleep cycles, which are often negatively affected for those dealing with SAD.  Melatonin supplements may be an effective treatment for SAD, especially when used with light therapy.  Check with your doctor to see if this is a good option for you.

Spice Things Up With Turmeric: Turmeric, a spice used in many curry dishes, has been widely used in both traditional Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medicine to treat a vast array of conditions.  Turmeric is derived from curcumin which is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.  Research has shown that curcumin may be used as a natural anti-depressant when used in conjunction with piperine, a component of black pepper.  Turmeric and curcumin are also available in supplement form.

Listen to your mind and body this winter to see if any of these solutions may be beneficial to you.  The winter months don't have to be long and dark.

Best in health, naturally,

Dr. Marc

A helpful link to see if you're affected by SAD:
Image: 7 Signs of Seasonal Affective Disorder


Health Disclaimer

This information on this web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting Dr. Marc, your pediatrician or family doctor.

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