Half a million Americans suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

Well the news is sad about the SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder and it seems that half a million Americans suffer from this disorder, while another 10-20 percent suffer from a milder form of “seasonal blues”.

CBS News is reporting that while the cause of SAD is unknown, recent research has found clues in our biology.
“The lack of light can impact our biological functioning,” says Louisa Sylvia, Ph.D., director of psychology at Massachusetts General Hospital Bipolar Clinic and Research Program. “We’re not making as much melatonin as usual, which helps with our hormone functioning and as a result, it can lead to symptoms of depression such as fatigue, loss of interest in things, and lack of motivation, and it can snowball into a full-on depressive episode.”

So what can we do to combat the effects of these short days and long nights? “Ask for vitamin D, B12 and iron levels, and get your thyroid levels checked” according to CBS News. “If these are too low they may be bringing you down.” – Dr. Vatsal Thakkar – clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine.

Other ideas to stay away from SAD would be to stay out on as much daylight as possible, be active, and consume less sugar rich foods as well.