Understanding Seasonal Affective Disorder

When the temperature drops and the amount of sunlight we see each day gets shorter and shorter, it’s understandable that most people experience the winter blues. For some people, however, the winter blues is actually something much more serious: Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.

SAD is a specific type of depression that typically strikes in late fall or winter in relation to the lack of sunlight during that time of year.  An estimated ten million Americans are affected by SAD, and another 1-2 million suffer from a mild form of it, meaning that it affects a total of one in every thirty people in the United States. Since SAD is related to sunlight, it’s more common the farther north you live; prevalence reaches 9.7% in New Hampshire, but it’s only 1.4% in Florida.

No specific diagnostic test exists for SAD; instead, it’s diagnosed through a patient’s history of seasonal depressive episodes. The disorder has been observed to run in families, so a genetic component seems likely; along the same lines, 55% of SAD sufferers reported a close relative with a severe depressive disorder, while 34% reported a close relative with an alcohol addiction. In addition to a lack of light exposure, SAD may be associated with low vitamin D levels in the blood.

There are several common myths surrounding SAD. For example, SAD is more than just a lack of energy or other negative feelings felt during the winter; milder conditions like that are commonly treatable by increasing physical activity. Also, the definition of SAD means that you only experience depression seasonally, during the last two consecutive winters; therefore, people who believe they have SAD do not suffer from other depressive conditions like clinical depression or bipolar disorder.

Some common symptoms of SAD include:

  • Tiredness
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Poor sleep quality
  • Decreased activity level
  • Depression
  • Crying spells
  • Body aches
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Overeating and associated weight gains

Seasonal_Affective_Disoder_Infographic_1

 

If you’re suffering from these symptoms and think you may have SAD, you don’t just have to wait for winter to be over. Instead, try one of the treatments for SAD. For example, phototherapy is the exposure to natural or artificial (typically fluorescent) light for a certain amount of time every day, and 80% of SAD sufferers benefit from phototherapy and show quick improvements after beginning treatment. You may also be able to temporarily or permanently relocate to a more sunlit climate, and traditional therapy may help as well.

 

 

 

Dealing with Insomnia the Natural Way

We all need to rest but there are times wherein sleeping is just so hard to achieve.  Every night, you spent several hours lying on your bed, have been changing positions but eventually end up hopeless and still wide awake.  In short, you’re experiencing a sleep disorder commonly known as insomnia.

 

insomnia

photo credits: freedigitalphotos.net

Just think about how you’re going to survive the entire day if you were not able to sleep the night before. You’ll end up sluggish and won’t be able to do anything right for sure.

Insomnia is one of the most common sleeping disorder yet one of the least-understood. Before you lead yourself to the nearest drugstore and buy those anti allergy drugs which are known to induce sleep, ask yourself first on how long are you going take them? These medicines aren’t meant to be used regularly because it will eventually cause addiction and other adverse effects.

Instead of ingesting those drugs, why don’t you resort into some natural remedies to solve your sleeping problem? Dim your lights and make sure you’re sleeping in a comfortable bed. If it’s too noisy, wear your ear plugs and close your doors. If you’re a coffee lover, just refrain from drinking one before you sleep because it contains caffeine that is a known stimulant.

A little bit of warm milk and cookie snack before going to bed can be helpful. You can also sip some herbal tea with a teaspoon of honey in it. Some amount of sugar before sleeping can become a sedative.

These remedies aren’t that difficult to prepare and you can even save yourself with time from going to the drugstore and of course money for the sleeping pills you’re planning to purchase.

Exploring The Link Between Hearing Loss and Alzheimer’s

It’s long been thought of as a fact that as one ages, hearing loss and memory loss are bound to follow. However, recent research shows a connection between Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss. Among people over 60, hearing loss accounted for over one-third of the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s.

 

Alzheimer_hearingloss_FINAL-opt fit

 

Many of the symptoms associated with early Alzheimer’s disease are the same as those associated with hearing loss. For example, some of these symptoms include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Increased distrust of others’ motives
  • Problems talking and understanding what is being said
  • Inappropriate responses to social cues
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Lower scores on mental function tests
  • Denial
  • Defensiveness or negativity

The connection between Alzheimer’s and hearing loss may be found in the brain. When we hear, sound travels into the ear and stimulates small hair cells, which then vibrate and trigger electrical impulses traveling to the brain stem and then the temporal lobe. The temporal cortex, occipital cortex, posterior parietal cortex, and brain stem all affect our ability to hear a sound and perceive its location.

Hearing loss affects brain activity as well. The small hair cells can disappear as a result of age or continued exposure to loud noises. Without these small hair cells, it’s harder to capture sound, and the less sound you hear, the less active your nerves are, which in turn makes your brain less active. An inactive brain can shrink and can lead to nerve cell death and tissue loss throughout the brain.

Mild hearing loss doubles the risk of dementia, and the risk of dementia appears to rise as hearing declines. If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the symptoms described above, talk to your doctor about getting tested for early hearing loss. Many studies have shown that Alzheimer’s patients show an improved ability to communicate and understand after being fitted with hearing aids.

 

Diabetes And Skincare: What You Need To Know

While diabetics understand that having diabetes will affect their diet, what many diabetics don’t realize is that having diabetes is likely impact their skin as well. In fact, as many as one-third of people with diabetes will have a skin disorder caused or affected by diabetes at some time in their lives. However, many potential skin disorders that stem from diabetes can be prevented with proper skincare.

 

diabetes_skincare_FINAL2-e1415286023306 fit

 

Potential skin issues that diabetics may encounter are usually caused by high glucose levels, weakened immune systems, and weakened blood flow. High glucose levels can lead to dry skin or itching, while a weakened immune system may lead to bacterial or fungal infections. Weakened blood flow can slow the healing of open wounds. Insulin use can lead to rosacea or, in rare cases, yellow skin.

Luckily, most of these skin disorders can be stopped early with the help of some basic skincare techniques. Diabetics should bathe with mild soap and warm water daily, avoiding very hot water that can dry out skin. Keep your home more humid during cold months when the air is drier, and use lotion or cream after showers and in cold, windy weather to avoid excess dryness. Control your glucose levels, and fill your diet with foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon.

You may also want to keep a first aid kit for your skin in your home. This kit might include antibacterial ointment, clean petroleum jelly, gauze/non-stick pads, hypoallergenic tape, cleansing towelettes (fragrance free), and Coban self-adherent elastic wrap.

Diabetics also commonly face foot problems, such as blisters, cracked feet, infections, and skin conditions caused by a lack of circulation or diabetic nerve damage. These problems can be prevented as well. Wear shoe inserts to help prevent changes to your foot shape, and examine your feet daily to prevent any damage or conditions. Finally, see your doctor once a year for a foot examination that focuses on circulation and sensation.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder and How to Treat It

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is generally associated with a kind of depression that appears due to the shorter days in autumn and winter. It does not affect all people, however, more sensitive ones and those who react to decreased amounts of sunlight are predisposed to encounter such type of problems. Of course, even though seasonal affective disorder usually appears in autumn and winter, there are still people who show symptoms during the summer. Other names for seasonal affective disorder are winter blues, winter depression, as well as hibernation reaction. All people can develop seasonal affective disorder, regardless of their age. It has been proven that this disease is rarely found in places with a lot of snow on the ground.

 

In this article  I will give you further information about the symptoms of the seasonal affective disorder and about the best treatment that could be provided. Although the treatment is strongly individual for every person, there are effective ways in which you can get rid of the unpleasant seasonal affective disorder.

 

Depression_by_henrytj

image source: http://fc06.deviantart.net/fs43/f/2009/118/7/d/Depression_by_henrytj.jpg

 

The General Symptoms of The Seasonal Affective Disorder

Despite the fact that there isn’t strongly defined test for the disease, the general symptoms of SAD include depression, fatigue, troubles with concentration, irritation, overeating and tiredness all the time. When you experience SAD in the summer, the general symptoms are: lack of appetite, insomnia, loss of weight and crying spells. In addition to this, patients also find it difficult to concentrate and are again very irritated. In some cases people even start thinking of suicide, due to the depression that they experience. The intensity of the symptoms is greater in the months when the days are shortest but they usually appear in autumn and last until with the approaching of spring.

 

Effective Treatment of Seasonal Effective Disorder

  • Antidepressants – They are prescribed for treatments of severe depressions that is observed with peopl who suffer from SAD. If you have chosen this type of treatment, you need to know that medications should be taken as prescribed and that a visible effect can be observed after 4-5 weeks from the beginning of the treatment. Take into account the fact that many antidepressants have side effects, so inform yourself carefully before taking them
  • Light TherapyLight therapy has proven its efficiency for improving the mood of many patients. People sit in front of light boxes which are special lamps, offered in a variety of designs. Light boxes produce very bright light which helps patients change their mood and start feeling more positive. If you choose this method, first make sure that the light box is medically suitable for SAD and that it has been produced by a certified manufacturer.
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a therapy that is concentrated on the idea that the way we behave affects how we feel. Patients have discussions with specialists who advise them how to change their negative attitude on certain issues through a series of sessions that last more than a couple of months. The therapy could include a group or an individual programme, depending on the condition of the patient

 

According to many researches, the cause for SAD is the receiving of inadequate bright light in winter. The bright light can change the chemicals in the brain and can lead to drastic changes of the mood, as well as to severe depressions. In order to have a clean an undisturbed mind, free of negative thoughts, you can try some of the methods for treatments mentioned above. Seasonal affection disorder will disappear, as long as people provide the needed care for their health.

 

 

The article is contributed by SparklingCarpets Battersea

How To Deal With Post-Travel Depression

Thoughtful Walker

Image credits to: Michael Coghlan on Flickr – https://flic.kr/p/goupx7

 

Post-travel depression or post-vacation blues is that low feeling that some of us have when returning back to normality after a holiday. If you have been away for an extended period, for example if you have been on a gap year, then this feeling can be very intense.

This feeling is also likely to be intense if you are returning from somewhere bright and sunny to your home country which is much darker and colder.

This feeling arises because on returning home, we see our everyday lives as unsatisfactory and dull. We begin to compare our usual routine to the lively and spontaneous activities we experienced while on holiday.

 

The signs

People who suffer post-travel depression will feel tired. They will often feel restless, easily distracted and will lack the motivation to carry out their daily routine.

They may lose their appetite or notice an increase in appetite as they try to “comfort eat”.

If you are experiencing post-vacation blues, you may also feel very emotional and find that you are upset easily.

Post-travel blues can result in depression, so it is important if you feel depressed that you seek advice from your doctor.

 

Depression

Image credits to: ryan melaugh on Flickr – https://flic.kr/p/nhRkoY

 

The dangers

People experiencing post-travel depression may plan their next trip as soon as they return from a holiday. This may give them something to look forward to, but when they return they may feel exactly the same, or perhaps worse. This is an unhealthy routine to get into as it means you are always trying to escape from your life. It could also have a negative effect on your relationships, your work and your finances.

If you are suffering from post-travel depression, you may start to doubt whether you want to continue what you are doing in life. You may begin to look for ways and means to make your life more exciting. This could lead to important decisions being made without thinking them through properly.

However, there are some things you can do to help you recover from post-holiday depression.

 

Prepare for the feeling

Before you arrive home from your holiday, mentally prepare yourself for your return. You may feel negative and low when you get back, especially if you have a history of post-travel depression, but it will help that this feeling does not come as a surprise.

Before you leave for your holiday, think of things you can do in advance to make your return easier. This might be organising a delivery of your favourite foods for the day you arrive home or planning to meet with friends and family as soon as you are back.

It is important to realise that it might take time to get over this feeling so don’t rush yourself through the recovery process.

 

Research

You may feel that you are entirely alone in feeling blue. In actual fact, it is quite the opposite. Most of us suffer post-travel depression at one time or another in our lives.

You will be able to find a vast amount of information and advice on dealing with post-vacation blues by conducting some research into this area. Travel company blogs, such as that provided by The Leap, often provide information on post-travel blues and ways to prevent and deal with it.

Realising that this is a common feeling will make you feel less alone and will help you kick-start the recovery process.

 

Share your stories

Sharing your stories with your family and friends may be an excellent way to help you cope with your post-vacation blues. However, instead of repeating your stories every time you meet with a different friend, you might find it therapeutic to write a travel blog about your adventures. This way you have a permanent record of your travels and you can send a link to your blog to all your friends and relations.

 

Bring your holiday home

If you collected souvenirs and took photographs while you were on vacation, it is a good idea to display these around your home. You may be upset when you look at them for the first time since being back, but it is better that you get used to them and see them as cherished memories rather than something negative.

If you experienced a new language while you were away, you might like the idea of starting a language course. If you tried some new food, why not find some recipes and host a dinner party for your friends and family.

 

Be kind to yourself

It may be a challenging time so make sure you treat yourself at least once a day. Your treat may be a cup of coffee with friends, a bath or watching a film. Whatever it is that makes you happy.

Make sure you are eating healthy foods and exercising everyday. If you have a balanced diet and take part in a fitness regime, this will improve your overall mood.

Make sure you get plenty of rest. If you find that you are struggling to sleep, listen to relaxing music or have a cup of soothing tea to help you unwind.

 

Plan your next adventure

As mentioned earlier, it can turn into an unhealthy habit if you are always preparing for your next escape. However, there is no harm in thinking ahead and planning what you will do when you next have time off. In fact, it will give you something to save up for and will make you appreciate some of the benefits, like money and paid holidays, that you can get from your everyday life.

 

Plan some short breaks

Between your major holidays, you may find it helpful to organize a couple of short or weekend breaks in your local area. Getting away for a couple of nights to the seaside or an unexplored city, may do wonders to lift your spirits.

 

Post-travel depression is a real and unsettling feeling. However, we hope that this information will help you begin to overcome your post-vacation blues and that you start to feel positive. It is important that you appreciate the experiences you had during your holiday but also that you recognise the value of your everyday life.