I know this is a break from our typical topics, but being that it is the season for depression, I thought I’d do something a lot different for those who might need to hear it.
We’ve all heard the statistics regarding depression and the holidays. Heck, there’s even been a catchy little acronym coined to describe the sentiment – Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S.A.D. No one is safe from S.A.D. There might be routine victims – people who know to expect it – or it might hit someone out of the blue after umpteen years of being jolly and festive during the winter months. S.A.D. is difficult to understand as many of its sufferers, myself included, absolutely LOVE the holidays. The knowledge the season is one of your favorites and therefore should inspire joy can only worsen the effects of S.A.D., and if you don’t understand it, it’s hard to get over.
S.A.D. is commonly thought to be caused by lack of serotonin. The sun is a natural provider of serotonin, and in winter, when the days are shorter and the weather is often dreary, the sun has no way of transmitting this important chemical. Among other things, low serotonin levels are “believed to be the reason for many cases of mild to moderate depression which can lead to symptoms like anxiety, apathy, fear, feelings of worthlessness, insomnia and fatigue.”
Serotonin is hardly linked just to S.A.D. I take two medications to boost my serotonin levels as part of my treatment for OCD. Learning what you can about these important make-or-break brain chemicals, even knowing there is a cause, can be the difference between having happy holidays or a Blue Christmas. I highly encourage everyone who has suffered or is suffering from S.A.D. to do some research.
I promise we’ll be back to normal next week. :o)
Read more on S.A.D. here
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