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Posted on 01-23-2018

Another blog post from Ann Arbor chiropractor Mike Tannenbaum, D.C.

Decreased sunshine and less daylight during the winter months cause physiological changes in some people, making them feel depressed. This “seasonal depression” is called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. Affect (in the world of psychology) means the external display of your internal feelings. Other people get an idea of your feelings through your facial expression, gestures, tone of voice, and so on: these make up your affect.

Usually, the person with SAD doesn’t experience depression – or just experiences just a mild form of depression – during other times of the year. SAD is fairly common; millions of people experience it each year. SAD symptoms are generally much like the symptoms of “common” depression. That is, one with SAD will have symptoms that include:

  • Unhappiness

  • Feeling worthless or guilty

  • Feeling less motivated than usual

  • Having a hard time getting up in the morning

  • Irritability

If you think you have SAD, you should be evaluated by a mental health professional. After getting diagnosed, there are some steps that you can take to help reduce or eliminate the symptoms of SAD. I've listed some of them below.

Light Therapy: SAD is due to less exposure to the sun’s light waves. You can buy a specific type of light (often called a SAD Light) that mimics the sun’s light waves. The majority of people with SAD that expose themselves to the light produced by SAD Light for 15-30 minutes a day show positive results in reducing their symptoms of SAD.

Nutrition: Generally, you want to consume foods that don’t make your blood sugar spike up and fall down, and that keep serotonin levels from spiking. (Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects your mood.) Foods should consist of greens, lean proteins, and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids (such as salmon), small amounts of dark chocolate, and foods high in folic acid – like oatmeal, sunflower seeds, and oranges. Finally, try to avoid sweets (other than that small amount of dark chocolate) and excess refined carbohydrates.

Aromatherapy: Essential oils have been shown to reduce symptoms of depression. One approach is to use a mix that includes some of these:

  • Citrus

  • Lavender

  • Clary sage

  • Atlas cedar wood

  • Eucalyptus

Chiropractic care: Chiropractic care can help reduce the aches and pains that can compound depression. In addition, chiropractic treatments have been shown to help reduce depression itself.

If you have any questions about this blog post, chiropractic, back pain, neck pain, or headaches, I can be contacted at my Ann Arbor office at tannenbaumchiro@hotmail.com.

This post is for educational purpose only and should not be used as a substitute for medical advice.

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