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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Winter Blues Remedies

Part 2--Bright ideas for the Blues

Last week explored the Winter Blues which effects 21% of Americans in either severe or mild forms. This seasonal depression brings with it many symptoms that can lead to a devastating effect for many people. Tonight we will look at some of the “bright ideas” to treat seasonal affective disorder, commonly called the Winter Blues.

Once again, very quickly, what are some of the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder?

• Depression
• Fatigue, feeling lethargic,
• Overeating, and compulsive need for carbohydrates
• Desire to stay in bed, isolate and irratibility

So let’s talk about those 9 “Bright Ideas” for the Blues.

• Light therapy- Most people have heard of this treatment. It is treated with specific intense white light boxes which provide 10,000 lux of illumination. This full spectrum light is used daily and many people see a reduction in symptoms in just three days says researchers.
• Dawn Stimulation- This new form of light therapy gradually turns the light on in your bedroom creating a slow transition from darkness to dawn in the room. Many note increased energy and decreased depression. Some come in the form of clocks, and other mechanisms attach for ceiling lights
• Negative Air Ions- the pounding surf or the air after a lightning storm have oxygen molecules that are naturally charged with extra electrons. These have mood changing effects and there are machines that create such negative ions. The machines are used 30-60 minutes a day.
• Antidepressants- SSRIs are used to decrease depression, but studies have shown that a light box has fewer side effects and worked faster
• Cognitive Behavioral Therapy- This technique looks at your negative thoughts, ruminations, and behaviors that get in the way of your happiness. This technique is one of the most effective techniques and practiced by most therapists
• Vitamin D. With conflicting research many believe that boosting Vitamin D levels can minimize the effects of seasonal depression.
• Sun tanning. Some say the UVB rays may stimulate endorphins, a natural hormone that is a pleasure inducing opiate to the brain, but there are risks of skin cancer, eye damage and premature aging
• Exercise. Many researchers believe that exercising outdoors in the morning or noontime can reduce symptoms. Clearly the exercise helps, but the real power is in the sunlight that enters the eyes while outdoors which reduces winter blues
• Diet Fighting the urge to eat carbohydrates can be helpful and there is some evidence that CHOCOLATE boosts serotonin levels. Try increasing vegetables and keeping meals light to improve insulin regulation.

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