SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder

Discussion in 'TM Lounge' started by trickg, Jan 15, 2004.

  1. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I'm curious if anyone out there has a problem with SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder. For those of you that might not be familiar with this, basically it's a minor form of depression that is brought on due to a lack of sunlight - something that your body needs and one theory is that the lack of sunlight disrupts the body's circadian rhythms causing you to produce more melatonin, which basically makes you want to sleep more and can bring on symptoms of depression.

    I'm not positive that I actually suffer from this, but one thing that I do know is that I have a hard time getting motivated during the winter months and it's usually during this time of the year that I try to take stock of my life and decide that I'm going completely in the wrong directions.

    I've talked to some folks at work and it seems that it's much more common than I initially thought. My Dad suffered from it too. He'd get really down in the dumps during the winter to the point where he almost quit talking to everyone in the family.

    Anyway, if anyone has any personal experience with this and has any advice, I'd appreciate it. About the only thing that I'm doing about it now is that during the winter, I don't wear sunglasses, which allows me to get a little more sunlight.
  2. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly Piano User

    Oct 31, 2003
    the north philly ghetto
    i have that problem, there are days in the winter (like today) that i don't even come out of the house.
    this never happens in the summer.
    i'm a LOT better in the summer.
  3. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    Yes, its definitely real. Get yourself a 'sunlamp' and see if that helps.
  4. gus

    gus Pianissimo User

    Nov 10, 2003
    Did you know that the suicidal rate is higher in
    Sweden than the average and someone think that
    is related with the lack of sun in winter? It could be
    a problem. Be careful¡¡¡¡.


  5. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I think that I'll try the sun lamp thing here at work. All we have here are those danged life-sucking flourescents.

    I've actually thought about maybe trying to get some anti-depressant meds for it, but I'm hesitant to be "treated for depression" because of the TS Clearance that I hold. That's a question that always comes up in the interview when you are trying to get your clearance updated and I would hate to lose my clearance (thus losing my job as well) because I went to the doc to get some anti-depressants because of something as silly as SAD.

    As I've mentioned before, I stop wearing sunglasses in the winter entirely and that has seemed to help some, but I'm defintely going to give the sun lamp thing a try.
  6. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    We used to call it "the winter blues". It would be most prevalent in the spring...towards the end of January and through the middle to late February. Typically that is when we'd get the most snow (which means the least sunlight), at the coldest temperatures. You would think that Dec 21 being the shortest day of the year with only around 8 hours of sunlight (here...I know you folks further north get even less....sunlight I mean), would be the worst day for SAD but there seems to be a cumulative effect at play. And just possibly the "excitment" (for most folk) of Christmas pushes it back a bit too.

    We have had an exceptionally warm winter so far this year here. With the exception of one or two days where the windchill ran down around -30ish, it's generally been between 20 and 40F with very little snow. On the one hand, that's played havoc with my skiing (fresh air and exercise seems to keep people in a better frame of mind...funny, eh?) but on the other hand, it's pleasant to be able to take the dog for a walk around the lake without needing 15 minutes to get dressed for it! Home heating bills have been a lot lower too!

    I'm not sure about the effect of different lighting....but my vote is on exercise and fresh air REGARDLESS of the temperature. (If it is too cold to exercise outside, then exercise indoors).
  7. rdt1959

    rdt1959 Pianissimo User

    Oct 31, 2003
    My entire family is affected by this, at least in a mild form. My sister is the only one that has to seek professional help for it though. Her doctor puts her on anti-depressants when it gets too bad.

    And yeah, I have noticed that January and February seem to be the worst months for us.

    I have never tried the sunlamp though. This year I found an even better solution.................

  8. Hornucopia

    Hornucopia New Friend

    Nov 2, 2003
    Hi Patrick,

    SAD is a real thing. A couple of non-prescription things to try:
    • Avoid chemicals that tend to make depression worse -- alcohol, antihistamines, and sleep aids come to mind immediately.
    • Light therapy (as has been mentioned above). There are light boxes that are made specifically to treat SAD. What I've read is that it's not just shortened days, it has to do also with the different spectrum you get with most artificial lighting.
    • Exercise. It doesn't have to be a monster workouts, just enough to get the blood flowing and the respiration up. My recollection is that aerobic exercise is most effective.
    I have some personal experience with a couple of anti-depressants. They did the job for my depression, but I hated the side effects ... avoid them if you can find an alternative solution. I would reserve prescription antidepressants for severe clinical depression, especially given the security concerns you mentioned.

    I hadn't started my comeback when I last had a significant depressive episode, so I can't vouch for the effectiveness of trumpet practice as a theraputic approach -- but it couldn't hurt!

  9. Gnostic

    Gnostic New Friend

    Oct 24, 2003
  10. richtom

    richtom Forte User

    Dec 7, 2003
    I have some experience in this area. I suffer from depression and have been on Celexa for the last 2 years. I also know that this time of year is the worst for me and it is because of the effects of SAD.
    I am also in complete understanding about your not wanting to have job related problems. I now cannot get short term disability insurance from my company's insurance program. (Note to everyone reading this. You are not invincible. If you don't have short term disabililty at your workplace and they offer it, please get it as soon as possible. Last June, what I thought was an upset stomach turned out to be a perforated appendix. The emergency surgery and subsequent abcess cost me all my vacation and sick time. Once you have disability insurance, it cannot be taken from you).
    Use the lamp therapy and do everything that gives you enjoyment. That can help. Laugh as much as you can. If you are a church-going man, go and seek wisdom of your God. That helps me too.
    You have recognized there may be a problem and that is a good thing. It take courage to come on a site like this and ask about what can be a difficult subject. I tip my hat to you.
    For what it is worth, you have us here to help.
    Cheer up, everyday gets more and more sunlight and the angle of the sun creeps slowly upward.
    My best to you, sir.

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