Is there a more aptly named condition than SAD, or Season Affective Disorder? When winter's short days limit daylight and frigid temperatures trap you indoors, who doesn't feel sad?
SAD, however, is different than the "winter blahs." Women's health expert and frequent guest of The Oprah Show Dr. Christian Northrup calls SAD "the PMS of the annual calendar."
"What it is, is you're not getting enough serotonin. So the reason you're getting depressed is absolutely real," she says.
A recent article in The Wall Street Journal highlight some of the curious facts about SAD—it peaks in January and February despite the fact that days are actually getting longer; it strikes those 18 to 30 most; it is three times more likely in women than men—and some of the latest therapies.
Some of these therapies include:
- Vitamin D
This is one of /article/health/wellnessandprevention/20091102-orig-seasonal-health-winter/2 Dr. Oz's favorite vitamins. During the summer months, most Americans get plenty of vitamin D from the sun. However, in winter, anyone living north of Los Angeles or Atlanta is likely to be deficient—which is very bad news because vitamin D helps build strong bones and fight diseases like cancer and heart disease. Dr. Oz recommends adding D-rich foods to your diet and taking a supplement of between 1,000 and 2,000 units a day.
- Light Therapy
Promising to relieve 80 percent of SAD symptoms, this involves sitting before a stronger-than-sunlight lamp for 15 to 20 minute a day. This is supposed to reset the body's rhythms.
- Dawn Simulation
Some new alarm clocks offer a feature in which they bathe the bedroom in a bright light similar to that used in light therapy.
- Negative Air Ions
By emitting air with extra oxygen molecules attached, ion generators are supposed to increase the amount of oxygen in the blood—which is believed to improve mood.
- Outdoor Exercise
Even when the weather outside is frightful, The Wall Street Journal quotes Janis Anderson, director of Seasonal Affective Disorders services at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, as saying getting outside can be a huge help with SAD. "I've had people who have SAD problems and have chosen to walk to work in the morning rather than take the car, and that's been a great treatment."