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Seasonal Affective Disorder SAD

Updated on July 8, 2015
Seasonal Affect Disorder
Seasonal Affect Disorder | Source

For years I was a victim of Seasonal Affect Disorder, also known as "SAD" but didn't know it. I thought it was just the "Winter Blues" everybody seems to go through.

I lived in Buffalo, New York, for 35 years, and every year from November 1st to January 1st, I would had increasing depression, lethargy, weight gain and general aches and pains.

It was cold. I went to work in the dark and came home in the dark. On weekends, I'd go out horseback riding or cross country skiing and I always felt much better for a day or two.

I discovered that when I moved to southern Arizona after retiring, that I didn't have the problem, or only minimally. Was it because I retired and didn't have the stress of working anymore, or was it all the sunshine I was getting?

I started researching what was causing this and what I could do about it. I discovered that the lack of sunlight had a great deal to do with it and the lack of production of Vitamin D.

After retiring, I worked inside quite a bit each day painting, and matting and framing my artwork. I started looking into more natural lighting for those times when I was not outside enjoying the beautiful weather and playing tennis..

I got full spectrum lighting for my work area which helped simulate natural sunlight for the production of Vitamin D. It also gave me the proper lighting for getting truer colors helping to choose colors for mat board that would complement my paintings.

The following is a video which gives a great deal of insight into how lighting affects us and a solution to the problems.

Full-spectrum Lighting

Symptoms of "SAD"

I was surprised in my research to discover that there that there are both Fall/Winter symptoms and Spring/Summer symptoms.

Some of the Fall/Winter symptoms include:

  1. varying degrees of depression,
  2. irritability,
  3. listlessness,
  4. over sleeping,
  5. weight gain,
  6. sugar cravings and
  7. other things that seem to recur each year at a specific time.

Some of the Spring/Summer symptoms may be the complete opposite including:

  1. insomnia
  2. loss of appetite, and
  3. weight loss

The Mayo clinic as a very well written summary of symptoms that can be felt at varying times throughout the year. I would strongly recommend you take a look at it if you think you are experiencing some of these symptoms.

I've mainly only experienced them in the Fall and Winter. It is interesting that as soon as the days start getting longer again at the end of December, my mood elevates, my weight starts to drop back down and frequently January and February seem to be the best time for me to reduce my weight even further.

I've also noticed that too many days of rain or no sunshine anytime of the year will also bring on some of my Fall/Winter depression and food cravings.

That's when my portable full-spectrum lighting comes in handy.

I have several of these full-spectrum lights by UltraLux. I use them next to my computers, on my desk top, as a light for sheet music on my piano, or for reading.

I like the fact that you can flip the light up to any angle so you can have just a small amount of light or a whole lot of it. When I'm working on the computer, I keep it tilted to about 30 degrees so I can see the keyboard without the light getting in my eyes.

Going Grain Free

One of the major changes I have made that has definitely helped me reduce the symptoms has been to totally eliminate grains from my diet, especially wheat.

  1. Mood swings are just about gone.
  2. My energy levels are high all year long.
  3. My diabetes is under control without medications as is my blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides.
  4. I play tennis 5 days a week at 72 years of age.
  5. I did a 5K fast walk in record time and still had energy to burn.

After a 5K Record-breaking Fast Walk
After a 5K Record-breaking Fast Walk | Source

Do you suffer from Seasonal Affect Disorder?

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What have you done to reduce it.

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Vitamin D Deficiency

As a researched the problem, I found that there was a correlation between the production of Vitamin D and SAD.

I had never had my Vitamin D levels checked until recently. I have type 2 Diabetes and low Vitamin D levels is common for that condition as it relates to insulin resistance.

I discovered that my levels were within normal limits but just barely within the lowest level.. My doctor suggested supplementing with a natural form of D3. He said the best source was cod liver oil.

My mother was never one to make her children take cod liver oil, but I remember other people saying how they suffered through it's horrible taste as children.

I decided to give it a try and actually found it essentially flavorless except for the trace of lemon flavor that was added to the oil.

I like the Carlson's Norwegian brand with lemon flavor. It not only is a good source of vitamin D3 but also contains a significant amount of Omega 3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA which have added health benefits.

I take one teaspoon, three times a day which is what my doctor recommended.

We know that our bodies produce Vitamin D, but that production is reduced by the use of sunscreen, clothing and working indoors under artificial light.

People who are allergic to milk which is supplemented with Vitamin D also have a risk of reduced levels.

Another group of people who may be deficient are people who are on a strict vegan diet.

Dr. Mercola has a very good article on the signs and symptoms of the deficiency which you might want to read.

I found it interesting that as you get older, you do not produce as much Vitamin D.

Also, if you are overweight or have large muscle mass, the fat and muscles tend to hold on to the Vitamin D, so you may need more than a thinner person may need.

You can read the complete explanation at:

Happy Solutions
Happy Solutions | Source

Your Solutions

If you have found solutions to the Seasonal Affects you experience, we would love to hear about them.

Just put them into the comment section below.


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    • Judy Filarecki profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Filarecki 

      3 years ago from SW Arizona and Northern New York

      I lived in western NY for 36 years and then moved to northern NY for the summer only and to southern Arizona for the winter. I look at the beautiful snow on top of the mountain 40 miles from me while enjoying warm weather and sunshine. This change has definitely reduces my SAD.

    • Karine Gordineer profile image

      Karine Gordineer 

      3 years ago from Upstate New York

      Interesting Hub. I've noticed that I get SAD when I'm not outside enough. I live in NY and the winters when I've hiked all winter I've done much better than when I haven't. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      3 years ago from Oklahoma

      I enjoy a bit of all kinds of weather, but I find in the depth of winter I do sometimes feel a sadness that is likely attributable to weather.

      Very enlightening and helpful hub.


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