What is S.A.D.?

Date Posted:23 July 2012 

As the months become colder, darker, seemingly longer it is not uncommon to feel unmotivated or sad. Read below to learn about Seasonal Affective Disorder. Could it be affecting you?

Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that tends to occur (and recur) as the days grow shorter in the autumn and winter. It is believed that affected persons react adversely to the decreasing amounts of light and the colder temperatures as the autumn and winter progress. Seasonal affective disorder is also sometimes called winter depression, winter blues, or the hibernation reaction.

  • Symptoms include tiredness, fatigue, depression, crying spells, irritability, trouble concentrating, body aches, loss of sex drive, poor sleep, decreased activity level, and overeating, especially of carbohydrates, with associated weight gain.
  • When the condition presents in the summer, the symptoms are more commonly insomnia, poor appetite and weight loss, in addition to irritability, difficulty concentrating, and crying spells. In severe instances, seasonal affective disorder can be associated with thoughts of suicide.
  • The incidence of seasonal affective disorder increases in people who are living farther away from the equator. Seasonal affective disorder is more common in women than men. People of all ages can develop seasonal affective disorder.
  • The symptoms of seasonal affective disorder typically tend to begin in the autumn each year, lasting until spring. The symptoms are more intense during the darkest months. Therefore, the more common months of symptoms will vary depending on how far away from the equator one lives. Some people suffer from this condition during the summer instead of, or in addition to colder seasons.
  • People with a kapha imbalance or who are naturally strong in Kapha dosha are more prone to this condition as are people who are experiencing ‘burn out’ due to long term sleep imbalance or stress overload.

What Causes Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Modern understanding

Seasonal affective disorder seems to develop from inadequate bright light during the winter months. Researchers have found that bright light changes the chemicals in the brain. Exactly how this occurs and the details of its effects are being studied.

Ayurvedic understanding

We are one with the world about us and our body is in a constant exchange with the world around us; when it is hot outside our internal heat increases and when it is cold outside our internal heat reduces.

  • If our body type is naturally cool (Kapha types) this drop in internal heat can result in less mental, physical and emotional energy leading to the symptoms grouped under the term S.A.D.
  • If we have undergone a long period of stress, sleep disturbance or are 50 years plus, then our internal ‘agni' or 'fire’ may also be reduced. In this case due to Vata Imbalance reducing the strength of the nervous system we may also experience S.A.D.

Remedial Help:

1. Light Exposure

  • Rise and walk while the sun is rising. If the sun rises late in the morning then get up and exercise anyway. This simple act has many benefits and will increase your energy, happiness and productivity for the next 12 hours.
  • Walk at sunset as the sun is setting, without sunglasses. This will help you enjoy a great night’s sleep and supports good digestion so that food moves through the digestive system before sleep time.
  • Have a mid season holiday in a warm region with good sunlight.
  • Have light treatment which is also called phototherapy: Sit under a bright light (fluorescent is good) in the morning and evening for 20-30 minutes.
2. Increase the ‘light of fire’ within to raise your serotonin levels and digestive fires to support good mental and physical energy with the following regimen:
  • Take Blissful Joy 1-2 tablets about 30 minutes after breakfast and evening meal. Blissful Joy is a synergistic blend of herbs including Terminalia Arjuna. It helps to protect and strengthen the heart, as it reduces the effect of stress and nervousness. Arjuna supports normal blood circulation, healthy blood pressure and normal cholesterol levels. As it contains COQ10 Arjuna supports the heart’s energy output and enhances overall energy levels, stamina, immunity and cellular health. This is a good product to take if you are taking statins to help protect against side effects.
  • Take Digest Tone 1 tablet before breakfast, lunch and 2 tablets prior evening meal. When feeling sluggish, dull, low mood or depressed, chances are toxins are building up in your body. Digest Tone is one of the most effective formulas to balance digestion, elimination and cellular metabolism for better energy and whole body function.
  • Food is medicine. It makes sense when the body is low in ‘fire' or 'heat’ to increase intake of spicy and warm foods and drinks. An easy way to do this is with a spice mixtures called Churnas. Follow the recommended foods for increasing energy (kapha foods) and sip Kapha Tea every 30 minutes throughout the day. Or decrease nervous system stress or overload if that is your need by favouring vata foods and sipping Vata Tea every 30 minutes throughout the day.
    About the Churnas: Spices are not just great flavour-enhancers, they come with therapeutic properties as well. Our Churnas are precise blends of spices and seasonings that include all six ayurvedic tastes. Saute the Churna in Ghee and add to your dishes, add some to soups, stews and sauces as they're cooking or sprinkle over prepared vegetables or rice at the table. Convenient, and mouth-wateringly delicious!

3. Be sure to be in bed by 9.45 and rise early – aiming for 8 – 9 hours sleep most nights. Adequate sleep is very important for you.

4. Regular practice of the deep meditation - Transcendental Mediation is also well researched as being very effective for restoring mental and physical balance.

5. Lastly, be sure to have fun! Laughter, doing what you love, expressing gratitude and being of service to your community are all ways to enliven and energise your mind, body and soul.

The Get Balance Team.

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