Friday, December 18, 2009

How You Can Be Happy During The Holidays Withour Breaking The Bank

During the months of November to February, the days start
getting shorter and colder, and the nights longer and darker.
Climate changes seem to affect many people and they just can't
understand why they tend to feel gloomy and miserable. This mood disorder is called winter depression, or Seasonal Affective
Disorder (SAD).

According to Norman E. Rosenthal, the doctor who coined the term
SAD in 1984, winter depression has a sound medical basis that
involves changes in the body's mood centers brought on by
shorter daylight hours and a lack of sunlight. Most depressive
illness sufferers experience a sense of utter isolation and
loneliness. But the fact that many people go through the same
grumpiness during this time of the year provides a sense of
comfort and assurance that they are not alone. As the cliché
goes "misery loves company."

Based on statistics of SAD Association, 500,000 people in the
United Kingdom experience some form of winter depression, while
doctors have estimated that 20% of the population, or almost 2
million people, are affected in Sweden by this condition.

One of the most effective and clinically proven treatment for
SAD is "light therapy", which has been shown to benefit some
80-85 percent of SAD cases. Simple as it may sound, the
treatment actually involves more than just turning on a light
and sitting beside it while twiddling your thumbs as you wait
for that renewed energy to "power up" your whole well-being. The
average domestic or office light emits a paltry 200-500 lux (a
lux is a unit of illuminance,) whereas a minimum of 2,500 lux is
required to alleviate the symptoms of SAD. In comparison, a
clear summer's day can reach an intensity of 100,000 lux.

Based on these specs, a number of specially designed light boxes
have been invented that emit precisely the right amount of
illumination. Symptoms of SAD gradually subside by sitting in
front of one for about 30 minutes to several hours, depending on
the severity of the condition.

Light therapy may be the best treatment for SAD as far as
symptoms are concerned. However, addressing the root causes of
the condition may involve both anti-depressant drugs and
psychotherapy treatments especially for those with severe

Studies have shown that the incidence of SAD increases
dramatically as you go 30 degrees of latitude further north or
south, as the condition is virtually unheard of in the tropical
countries. A movement or vacation trip to these countries in the
equator may sound impractical but can definitely improve ones
mood and well-being.

Watching movies that feature warm, sunny, summery climates show
demonstrable improvements in mood. Research shows that any film
with clear blue cloudless skies, palm trees and an absence of
snow should qualify for a movie therapy.

The same mood-enhancing effect may result by simply watching
outdoor sports like cricket or golf. However, over-exposure to
snooker, darts, and indoor bowling has been found to bring on a
state of depressive, trance-like catatonia that, in severe
cases, culminates in complete mental health breakdown.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year;
Mental Health


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lady said...

As I was growing up in northeast Ohio I was well aware of the effects of Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It hit my family every year without fail. There would be more sibling fights, especially between my brothers. SAD hit my oldest brother the hardest. When he went away to college, in the mountains we heard less and less from him until one day our father got a call from his room mate. He hadn’t left his room in weeks and had begun to show signs of Bell’s Palsy. I had never known that severe SAD could cause other problems. Well, this is true of any depressive disorder. Your body can change chemically and throw your entire system off balance. Then, not only do people suffer from one disorder or problem, but it is compounded by another. As I saw with my brother, his depression was only made worse by the fact that his face was deformed from the Bell’s Palsy. All he kept saying was, “Well, at least I don’t have to go buy a costume for Halloween, I already have one.” That was heart wrenching to hear coming from the brother who helped to raise and protect me. All I could do was think of activities to help him take his mind off of his problems. But, it would take specific activities. Nothing out in public where people would stare at him. The movies became out hangout over the winter. My mom, sisters, other brother and I would go whenever we could, just to get out of the house. Just getting out of the house, taking that dreaded first step out, can help someone with a mental illness, which SAD is considered. Sun exposure is proven to help many mental illnesses. For more information visit It has an abundance of information on how Vitamin D can truly help. My family has never invested in the lamps to help with our SAD, but many of us have moved to different states now, and are not affected as much or at all. I am now living in North Carolina, so my own symptoms have ben alleviated. Until the next time I go home to visit, and I see why so many people are so down. It only takes a couple days to diminish my supplies of Vitamin D. And I find myself craving North Carolina’s sunny days. I hope that some of this information is helpful to someone. And maybe you can learn more about how SAD can be helped. As for my brother. The Bell’s Palsy slowly went away but it took about a year for all of his symptoms to disappear. He was one of the lucky ones. He went to live with my Dad for a while in South Carolina, which I believe was one of the best moves he could make. He got the sun and the therapy that he needed.