Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can occur if one is having a family history of depression, bipolar disorder or any psychological disorder. Common treatments to this may include anti-depressants, counseling and allopathy medications but improving lifestyle, diet, and mode of living can manage this syndrome effectively and naturally.
Welcome to the season when days have started getting shorter, less sunlight, 5 p.m. sunsets and plenty of snow all around. Some days can be worse if one is experiencing random mood swings, feeling more lethargic and low almost every day. What might be the reason?
Is it the SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) or Winter Blues?
Some people start feeling dump after the winter vacations, ending the festive season and Slump after the fun. Finding it difficult to get up out of the bed, irritated, sad and low energy levels are not uncommon. These are the manageable ebb and flow that come along with the every changing season and can be considered as winter blues. There is no clinical diagnosis for this condition but is fairly common globally. While a small percentage of people experience a severe medical disorder which is known as Seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
What is SAD?
Seasonal Affective disorder (SAD) is a depressive disorder with recurrent seasonal patterns which usually begins in fall and continues till winter ends. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), this starts in a specific season each year and ends in another. This disorder occurs more often in women than in men at an estimated age between 18-30 years. People living away from the equator are more susceptible to this disease.
Recognize the Signs and Don’t Ignore Your Symptoms
The Most Common Signs and Symptoms Include the Following
- Excess sleeping
- The person feels down or depressed the whole day or nearly every day
- Loss in interest in some activities which you enjoyed once
- Preferring isolation and withdrawing from social gatherings
- Constant feeling of fatigued and lethargic
- Suicidal thoughts
- Feeling of hopelessness and demotivated
- Finds difficult to take initiative
- Difficulty in focusing on work
- Frequently crying
- Lowered energy levels
- Crave carbohydrates and sugars
- Sudden weight gain
Symptoms Which Can Occur During Summer Are Given as Follows
- violent behavior
- sudden weight loss
- poor appetite
Some of the Major Factors that Trigger The Onset of The Disorder Are Discussed as Follows
The major and foremost reason which can be considered as the primary culprit for a seasonal affective disorder is the decreased exposure to sunlight which leads to an imbalance in serotonin and melatonin levels.
What is Serotonin?
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that modulates all human behavior and is produced by CNS neurons. This hormone regulates the brain functions, helps to regulate mood, biological clock and body’s sleep-wake cycles. Lowered serotonin levels can be due to improper diet, sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise, etc. and ultimately leads to the onset of depression. (3)
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin hormone which is secreted by the pineal gland is a derivative of tryptophan (Amino acid) found in mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds. In humans, it regulates circadian rhythm (24-hour cycles) and its secretion is enhanced by darkness while inhibited by light. (2)
Less sunlight causes a deficiency of Vitamin D which hinders the secretion of Serotonin and melatonin which ultimately causes depressive symptoms. But don’t let these winter blues hinder your daily enjoyment here are some of the home remedies which can put this winter illness off.
Home Remedies – Embrace a Healthy Lifestyle
To get a sufficient amount of Vitamin-D, you need to step outside whenever the sun is out. Exposing yourself to natural light and sun will trigger the serotonin production which will naturally lighten up your mood. So this winter takes a break with your kids, family or friends and tries indulging yourself in skiing, ice-skating or picnic, etc.
Exercise tends to have a link with mental health so making exercise an essential part of our routine contributes to a healthy lifestyle. Daily exercise is beneficial in managing depression and anxiety effectively which acts as a natural antidepressant. It also increases endorphins which are secreted by the hypothalamus and lower levels may trigger anxiety and stress. Levels of serotonin and endorphins can affect mood which can be boosted by daily exercise.
3. Change your Diet
Some of the dietary supplements and altering diet can improve the condition and some of the supplements are discussed as follows-
1.Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Food items like walnut, salmon, tuna, shrimp, catfish, spinach, flaxseed oil, etc. should be added in the diet.
Berries like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc. can help to prevent the secretion of cortisol which is a stress hormone.
Food items that have high amounts of folic acid are Oatmeal, green leafy vegetables, cereals, soybeans, and black-eyed peas can be included in daily diet.
4.Vitamin B-12 and D
Food sources like oysters, crab, eggs, cheese, yogurt, milk, cereals, etc. are rich in Vitamin B-12 while mushrooms, fish, etc. are rich in Vitamin D should be included in the daily diet for reducing symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
It possesses tryptophan, natural sugars, magnesium and potassium which improves sleep and reduces anxiety which naturally symptoms of depression and enhances a good mood.
Ayurvedic Remedies for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
1.Stress Support Capsule
Stress support from Planet Ayurveda has been formulated from enormous traditional herbs like Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera), Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) and Tagar (Valeriana wallichii). This product effectively manages various conditions like nausea, dizziness, tremors, sleeping disorders, and anxiety.
Dosage – 1-2 capsules daily with plain water after meals
2. Brahmi Chyawanprash
This is an herbal dietary supplement that contains many herbs like Jivanti, Punarnava, Jeerak, Brahmi, Dashmola, Bhumi Amla, Choti elaichi, Ashwagandha, Bala, Shatavari, Chandan, etc. This product pacifies Tridosha i.e. Kapha, Pitta and Vata which eliminates anxiety, indiscrimination, fear, grief, etc.
Dosage – 2-3 teaspoonful twice or thrice with milk after meals.
3. Brahmi Capsules
Brahmi capsules are an amazing herbal product that has been formulated from the standardized extract of Bacopa monnieri which is very beneficial in treating Neurological Disorders.
Dosage – 1-2 capsules two times a day with plain water after meals.
4. Gotu kola Capsules
Gotu kola capsules have been prepared from pure extracts of Gotukola (Centella asiatica) which Manages Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety effectively.
Dosage – 1-2 capsules two times a day with plain water.