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Author Topic: Treating Seasonal Affective Disorder:  (Read 5288 times)
Montague
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« on: September 19, 2010, 07:45:07 AM »

By Stacy Weiner
Mental Health America



If yours is a relatively mild case of winter depression, you may improve if you get outside more - or even just sit near your window. If yours is a more serious case, though, you'll likely need to seek some kind of treatment. Of course, it can be hard to take action when you're depressed, but keep in mind that most people experience great relief after starting one or a combination of the therapies below.


Let There Be Light (in a Box)

Light therapy - sitting opposite a box that emits a sort of sunlight substitute - generally the first-line treatment for SAD. Most people need about a half-hour dose each day and can expect to see results in just a couple of days or weeks. The devices are fairly easy to use, and you can buy one on the Internet and in some drugstores.

Before starting light therapy, consider a few caveats. For one, your insurance may not pay for the devices or may require a doctor's note to do so. Also, some medical conditions make light therapy risky, so ask your doctor before you start. In addition, you should watch for side effects such as headache or mild nausea, though these are pretty rare and often are resolved by reducing the dose. Finally, light boxes aren't regulated by the FDA, so be careful about what you buy. Look for a light box that...
Provides 10,000 lux (the measurement used to indicate the device's intensity) of white light at a comfortable distance
Gives off very little unhealthy ultraviolet light
Protects your eyes by projecting light from above
Is large enough to keep your eyes in its range even if you move your head
If you want an alternative or supplement to a light box, you might consider a dawn simulator. This device gives off an increasingly bright light that gently wakes you and, experts believe, helps reset your off-kilter internal clock.


Medicine

Many people with SAD find antidepressants quite helpful in lifting mood and decreasing other symptoms. In fact, some feel better after just a few weeks. If you don't, your doctor may recommend sticking with it longer or trying a different antidepressant instead. Like any medicine, antidepressants can cause side effects. Let your doctor know if you develop any problems.
 

Let's Talk: Psychotherapy

Talking with a therapist can be a helpful addition to light treatments or antidepressants. You might ask your therapist to check out recent research on cognitive behavioral therapy for SAD. This form of therapy specifically addresses the negative thoughts and behaviors that can make you feel worse in winter. If you're concerned that seeing a therapist is a sign of weakness, consider that it actually can be a sign of strength to take steps toward getting your life back on track.


Negative Air Ionizers and Positive Mood

Although they may sound like some piece of intergalactic gadgetry, negative air ionizers may be a promising new way to treat SAD. These small devices produce a quiet stream of microscopic particles similar to those found near crashing waves and after thunderstorms. (Don't try to create the effect with a home air filter; most of them don't emit enough ions.) Experts don't fully understand the phenomenon, but some recent studies show it helps, and so far, the devices seem to have no side effects.


Melatonin

People hoping to reset their internal clocks sometimes take melatonin, a hormone that affects our sleep cycle. Although a recent study indicates that melatonin taken in the evening may have the desired effect, experts caution people about treating themselves with melatonin supplements. For one, they believe more research is necessary to pinpoint when and how to take the pills. In addition, the FDA doesn't regulate supplements, so it can be hard to know if the bottle you buy contains what it says.


More Ways to Wellness

There are some fairly low-tech, inexpensive ways you can promote your own well-being. For starters, try sticking to a routine of aerobic exercise, which can get feel-good hormones pumping throughout your body. Exercise also can help cut down on any SAD-related weight gain, as can watching what you eat.

You can also help protect your mood by connecting with people who care about you and by pursuing enjoyable or meaningful activities. It can be hard to begin such self-care steps when you're not feeling well, so you might start early or just choose a few very manageable goals. And don't forget to acknowledge yourself even for small victories as you work toward a life of more sunny days.


If you or someone you know is in crisis, seek help immediately. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach a 24-hour crisis center or dial 911.

Content courtesy of Mental Health America, the country's leading non-profit dedicated to helping all people lead mentally healthier lives.

Reviewed by Michael Terman, Ph.D., Columbia University Medical Center

________________________ ________________________ ___________

source: http://www.weather.com/activities/health/achesandpains/achesandpains101/help_natural_arthritis.html?from=tenday_trigger
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« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2010, 09:09:28 AM »

Vitamin D is something that should probably be added to that list.

Ya know change of season is not something that has ever affected me.  If its dark out...its dark out...so be it.

That being said for people who do suffer from it I would suggest to do everything possible naturally first before jumping into the meds...nothing like developing a dependency on a substance to get you through lifes obsticles.  Let that be the last resort.
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« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2010, 11:06:41 AM »

  Tanning beds seem to help.
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« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2010, 01:01:41 PM »

Dont tanning beds cause aging? I really like to stay fairly dark year round but spray on tans are too much money and is it worth the wrinkles tanning causes?
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« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2010, 01:58:07 PM »

i always have bad winter depression...not a good few months for me..


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« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2010, 02:41:56 PM »

  Tanning beds seem to help.

I thought the light had to be through the eyes to be effective
  Huh
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« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2010, 03:02:03 PM »


I thought the light had to be through the eyes to be effective
 Huh


Yep, the amount of light that passes through the eye & travels along the retinohypothalamic tract is one of the triggering mechanisms of natural Melatonin secretion (or suppression).

Thatís why the darker your room is when sleeping, the better.
Conversely, light therapy helps supplement the limited daylight during the winter months to partly inhibit Melatonin secretion so that you feel a bit more vibrant during the day.
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« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2010, 04:47:21 PM »

Vitamin D3 [5000iu] has been a big help for me, running outdoors really helps as well. I don`t start to have noticable problems until early November when the days stat getting really short. I go thru it every year.
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« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2010, 05:43:50 AM »

Alcohol and weed helps me. (maybe some Xanax as well).
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« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2010, 06:13:18 AM »

Vitamin D3 [5000iu] has been a big help for me, running outdoors really helps as well. I don`t start to have noticable problems until early November when the days stat getting really short. I go thru it every year.


The change of seasons thing doesnít get me down.
I like snow for Christmas and deer season.

But, by Feb/March, Iím getting tired of cleaning my driveway, hosing salt off of my truck in 20 deg. weather, and getting stuck behind people with RWD & summer tires on single-lane roads on my way to school/work/clinical rotation.

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« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2010, 08:45:05 AM »


The change of seasons thing doesnít get me down.
I like snow for Christmas and deer season.

But, by Feb/March, Iím getting tired of cleaning my driveway, hosing salt off of my truck in 20 deg. weather, and getting stuck behind people with RWD & summer tires on single-lane roads on my way to school/work/clinical rotation.



My thoughts exactly. 

Winter till new years is a novelty...it just plain sucks january till march. 
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« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2010, 01:34:11 AM »

They left one thing off the list... going someplace hot, sunny, and equatorial.  Cheesy
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« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2011, 07:37:04 PM »

BUMP!!!


Vitamin D3 [5000iu] has been a big help for me... I don`t start to have noticable problems until early November when the days stat getting really short. I go thru it every year.


I started supplementing with Vitamin D3 over summer.
I buy the 2,000 IU softgels and take 2-3 per day.

At most, I may get just a slight touch of wintertime lethargy, but nothing like the severe winter depression that some people suffer.
Nonetheless, this is honestly the best I've felt by this point into winter in years.
I am also currently under substantially more stress than in years past.

I'm not claiming that vit D3 is a miracle cure, but it's helped me enough to make me glad I tried it.
It's certainly worth the price, and I would recommend it to anyone to try - especially if you suffer from any degree of SAD!

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« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2011, 04:34:02 AM »

with all the shitty stuff that happened to me the last 2 year i think my mind recover from affective disorder quickly now.

If i got a bad mood, i just think about positive and simple thing, like "i'm alive, employed, still got my parent, a nice gf, and today i'm going to the club to lift some fucking weight".

Generally m bad mood get away...
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« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2011, 06:36:11 AM »

with all the shitty stuff that happened to me the last 2 year i think my mind recover from affective disorder quickly now.

If i got a bad mood, i just think about positive and simple thing, like "i'm alive, employed, still got my parent, a nice gf, and today i'm going to the club to lift some fucking weight".

Generally m bad mood get away...


Yeah, I think a lot of it is determined by attitude/mindset, too.
Of course, there's natural mindset and affected mindset.
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« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2012, 02:24:02 PM »

Time to stock up, kids!!!


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« Reply #16 on: October 16, 2012, 03:45:31 PM »

That's right ladies...time to stock up!

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« Reply #17 on: October 16, 2012, 04:08:34 PM »

That's right ladies...time to stock up!




Okay, you win.
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« Reply #18 on: October 16, 2012, 04:12:52 PM »


Okay, you win.

 Grin

My drinking seemed to get a lot worse in the past come winter time. These days if I get drunk I'm hungover for a couple days lol. Think I'll go your route instead my friend.   Cool

Great thread!
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« Reply #19 on: October 17, 2012, 06:17:09 PM »

the best treatment is

sex

lots of sex
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« Reply #20 on: November 18, 2012, 02:43:57 PM »

While on the topic of treating general "wintertime blah's," I'd like to mention another product I've been using: 5-hydroxytryptophan, or 5-HTP as the name it is commercially sold under.

Molecularly, 5-HTP is a precursor to serotonin and melatonin. In the U.S., it is sold as an OTC supplement commonly used as an antidepressant, appetite suppressant, and sleep aid. Many manufacuturers boast its "mood-enhancing" effects. 5-HTP increases the production of serotonin, which itself, is widely considered a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness. There have been over 100 studies done on 5-HTP over the last 50 years, but none are really worth mentioning due to various flaws in the study protocols.

However, there is ample anecdotal evidence to suggest its effectiveness. I have been personally using 5-HTP intermittently with consistent success. I certainly experience a noticeable bump in mood the morning after taking it - enough to convince me that it is more than a placebo effect. I don't know how effective it would be for people diagnosed with "clinical" or "severe" depression, but I suspect it may help at least some.

If you're interested in trying 5-HTP, I will caution you that there is evidence to suggest that it may cause possible side effects of varying severity in people at both moderate and overdosed amounts. Again, no studies have conclusively proven anything yet. Also, interactions with other drugs and supplements is not well-known at this point. Disappointingly, 5-HTP has not been thoroughly studied in the clinical setting. Common acute symptoms include GI distress such as diarrhea and vomiting, of which I have experienced neither.

As always, I am not recommending anyone try this product. I am merely mentioning my own experiences with it, as well as providing the reader with some information.
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« Reply #21 on: November 18, 2012, 04:04:03 PM »

Side effects and precautions:
In clinical trials, the most commonly reported side effects are nausea and gastrointestinal distress, and less commonly headaches and sleepiness. The nausea problem may be resolved by starting with a low dose and moving up, and even when large doses are used (900 mg/day), the problem diminishes with time.
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« Reply #22 on: November 18, 2012, 04:24:23 PM »

Side effects and precautions:
In clinical trials, the most commonly reported side effects are nausea and gastrointestinal distress, and less commonly headaches and sleepiness. The nausea problem may be resolved by starting with a low dose and moving up, and even when large doses are used (900 mg/day), the problem diminishes with time.


Yes.
Cardiac fibrosis and eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome are also more critical "potential" sides, although 5-HTP's causal role is not completely understood.

Also, the use of 5-HTP in people already using MAOI's for treatment of depression may demonstrate excess serotonergic activity in the CNS. Serotonin Syndrome is a very dangerous and possibly lethal condition.
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« Reply #23 on: November 18, 2012, 04:49:04 PM »

not taking it...

but i do go for a weekly "vitamin b" tanning session (stand up bed adjusted for higher vitamin d output)
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« Reply #24 on: November 18, 2012, 04:50:22 PM »

not taking it...

but i do go for a weekly "vitamin b" tanning session (stand up bed adjusted for higher vitamin d output)


I've never heard of it. Sounds interesting.
Can you provide a link with more info?
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