Written by Donna Roberts, Master Practitioner of NLP, TLT & Hypnosis, Soul Realignment Practitioner and Miriam’s admin guru.

Get ready for winter 2014

This winter has been particularly cold and wet, apparently the coldest and wettest in 30 years. Each year we all go through a natural process of semi-hibernation or withdrawing from all usual activities. However, for some people their experience of winter goes beyond the normal pattern of withdrawal and becomes something worse. For some people, winter is hell. They find themselves feeling really low and flat, unhappy and irritable. If this is something you have experienced this winter and even in past winters, you may be suffering a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

What is S.A.D.?
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a sub-type of depression, which only affects people during the winter months. It is also known as Winter Depression, and generally the sufferer starts to feel better in the Spring, as the days warm up, get longer and nature blossoms. It is more common in women than in men, and onset typically occurs in young adulthood.

What are the causes of S.A.D.?

The exact cause is unknown, however, depression is more common during the winter months, and at higher latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, leading doctors to believe that a lack of sunlight creates altered brain rhythms, leading to depression in some people. Generally, it is less common in Australia than in the sub-polar countries.

Most doctors think that a number of factors trigger S.A.D. including

What are the symptoms of S.A.D.?

What treatments are available for S.A.D.? 

Self help options

Light therapy (phototherapy)  – this is the controlled use of artificial light that mimics the light spectrum. Daily sessions may range in duration from 20 to 60 minutes depending on the severity of the symptoms. Exposure to light therapy in the morning, around 6am,  seems to be the most effective in resetting the circadian rhythm. For most Australians, however, an increase in exposure to natural sunlight is relatively easy to achieve, and this should be tried before resorting to light therapy.

Medication – antidepressant drugs are an option, although they can take 2-3 weeks to get into your system before symptoms are alleviated, and for some people, the side effects are quite awful. Try the self-help or light therapy options first before considering if you need this option, and always talk to your GP when deciding which is the best course of treatment for you.