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Thread: Seasonal Affective Disorder

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    Seasonal Affective Disorder

    I thought I would explain to members the cause for all of this uproar, that is somewhat unheard of and almost purely physical. As members may note, I've gotten away with some very crazed behavior on here and SF. I have been accused by multiple people of being bipolar, or having some other mental illness, but this is just not true at all. What I know that I have is a disorder that effects me only from the very late fall, to the late winter and maybe a little in the early spring that can cause pseudo-bi polar like symptoms that are not even remotely close to its severity and nothing like it at all for that matter. When I was in early adolescense, I had a short period in late fall where I started acting crazed and my parents thought it was a response to things happening at school, and it really just had to do with having seasonal affective disorder and not understanding what was really wrong with me.

    The therapist they took me to wrongly diagnosed me with having temporary mania from being bullied by this teacher at school and the other girls in my gym class. This is true but not entirely; I was having temporary mania but it had nothing to do with being bullied at school and had everything to do with the onslaught of seasonal affective disorder. I find that therapists are lazy idiots, and can't correctly diagnose the problem, so you have to diagnose yourself. It was very traumatic for me being told I was having a problem for something that I wasn't, and caused me much confusion and anger. I got better in the spring, but the therapist insisted that it was the little dose of depression medication that they put me on when it was not. I hate to sound like a psycho babble, but you really have to understand the disorder to understand why I was acting so strangely.

    Seasonal affective disorder is an evolved genetic adaptation that is a remnant of a hibernation response in some remote ancestor. In prehistory, food was scarce in the winter, so it would have been beneficial to have a low mood in the winter so that there is less of a need for calories. It is more common in most Nordic countries and was described in the accounts of Jordanes where he talked about the inhabitants of Scandinavia. Most people with seasonal affective disorder oversleep in the winter, have morning sickness, difficulty waking up in the morning, a craving for carbohydrates, low sex drive, and a general depressed mood. I do have some of these symptoms, but most of mine are a little different. I feel sure it is seasonal affective disorder, because in the warmer winter months, I always feel like I could conquer the world and only need 6-7 hours of sleep compared to 12 hours in the winter. In my opinion, it is a very natural but unfortunate thing. This is something I hope to breed out in my children.

    My symptoms start around November and continue into late march but get less severe after February. They include needing at least 10-12 hours of sleep, being inactive and the opposite of mentally sharp, an excessive craving for starchy foods like potatoes (which I don't care for much in the warm weather), feeling tired all of the time, having a pessimistic and irritable attitude, being less sociable, and sometimes my symptoms have the reverse effect and produce a sort of slight mania (happens maybe every two years ie. overly high sex drive, inflated sense of ego, rapid thoughts, no fear etc.). Although I don't think I ever really go through periods of depression, I just feel pessimistic and unhappy but I wouldn't ever say I get really sad or depressed. As soon as the winter goes away, my symptoms instantly work themselves out and I become productive and lose my mental feebleness. Sometimes I look back on things I did in the cold weather and just don't understand why I did them at all.

    Anyway, I plan to look into natural methods of taming this problem that I have ie. getting a fireplace, improving my diet next winter rather than medicating myself with something unnatural that masks the symptoms and ultimately makes it worse.

    In conclusion, I think my past experiences in adolescense and my seasonal mood changes have given me a sort of complex and I'm sorry I acted the way I did but I'm afraid its a physical/biological. I also think it has been irritated/made worse by ignorant people and a bad environment.

    Has anyone else suffered from seasonal affective disorder?

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    Needing more sleep, being irritable, food cravings are in fact signs of depression - biological depression. You don't have to have sad thoughts to be depressed (and good for you, if you don't). It sounds like you have mild symptoms - which is why it would be classified as SAD.

    I don't have SAD, but I was married to someone who may have it (or he's bipolar). I believe they are on a continuum and so do most researchers I've read.

    You're absolutely right about it being a biological adaptation to certain latitudes. If you were far north, and nearly everyone you knew had the same pattern (and it seems to appear in Inuit/Eskimo people as well), you would not feel as it if were an unusual thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Melisande View Post
    Needing more sleep, being irritable, food cravings are in fact signs of depression - biological depression. You don't have to have sad thoughts to be depressed (and good for you, if you don't). It sounds like you have mild symptoms - which is why it would be classified as SAD.

    I don't have SAD, but I was married to someone who may have it (or he's bipolar). I believe they are on a continuum and so do most researchers I've read.

    You're absolutely right about it being a biological adaptation to certain latitudes. If you were far north, and nearly everyone you knew had the same pattern (and it seems to appear in Inuit/Eskimo people as well), you would not feel as it if were an unusual thing.

    Right. I do think it is seasonal affective disorder rather than just plain depression or bipolar though. I have heard the accounts of people suffering from both and they don't sound very similar to what I suffer from and are usually more severe since they are constant. I also don't necessarily overeat too much, just crave a disproportionate amount of starchy foods and soft drinks. When I visited Dallas, Texas (sunny, dry climate) I felt completely elated and freed from all of my symptoms.

    I just think that any therapist who can't notice that you're clearly suffering from seasonal affective disorder is not doing their job.

    I also had a weird instance in the middle of the summer when I was about twelve that I think could have been due to SAD. I had these severe headaches, terrible fatigue, unexplainable rashes, strange anxiety (ie. the need to count dots on the ceiling), mild depression, high fever, very low appetite, and swelling of the arms, face, and legs for prolonged periods of time. My arms eventually got so swollen that they had to take me to the hospital. The doctor couldn't figure out what it was and I think this is because it was SAD. Antibiotics didn't work, it just worked itself out on its own by the fall but Benadryl made the swelling go down.

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    Well, I don´t know if I have a seasonal affective disorder but I love to sleep in the winter months. Friends say I´m like a groundhog. I sleep 10 hours day but it isn´t enough because I continue to feel tired, so I often take a nap at the afternoon. Beds can be really cuddlesome...

    I think different emotional phases during the year are nothing special.

    "Judge of your natural character by what you do in your dreams" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    Yes, my mood sinks considerably in the winter months when there is little sunshine, bright skies or green nature to look at.

    I have never heard the term "seasonal affective disorder" before. I suppose it is the same as "winter depression".

    You should make sure to get plenty of exercise, have a regular routine for your day and get things done (chores, homework or such) so you have a sense of accomplishment (this will work to alleviate most cases of depressions, although it probably will not cure it entirely)

    But what really did the trick for me was taking plenty of vitamin D supplements. And when I say plenty I really mean it: For the duration of this winter I have taken more then 700% of Recommended Daily Intake and I have heard stories of people with winter depression who consumed a staggering 2000%.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sindig_og_stoisk View Post
    Yes, my mood sinks considerably in the winter months when there is little sunshine, bright skies or green nature to look at.

    I have never heard the term "seasonal affective disorder" before. I suppose it is the same as "winter depression".

    You should make sure to get plenty of exercise, have a regular routine for your day and get things done (chores, homework or such) so you have a sense of accomplishment (this will work to alleviate most cases of depressions, although it probably will not cure it entirely)

    But what really did the trick for me was taking plenty of vitamin D supplements. And when I say plenty I really mean it: For the duration of this winter I have taken more then 700% of Recommended Daily Intake and I have heard stories of people with winter depression who consumed a staggering 2000%.

    That's what my dad always tells me to do, I just have a hard time remembering to take a vitamin every morning. The funny thing is though I feel like I can never get enough cheese and milk.

    Seasonal affective disorder differs from the winter blues in that it has little or no connection to the events in your life or your likes and dislikes, its just a weird physical thing that will always come when the seasons change. Its also not just depression, it causes other minor physical and mental discomforts such as gaining and shedding Ibs and feeling "on edge" at certain times for no real reason. Some people may argue that this is caused by the depression itself but I don't think so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by feisty goddess View Post
    That's what my dad always tells me to do, I just have a hard time remembering to take a vitamin every morning. The funny thing is though I feel like I can never get enough cheese and milk.

    Seasonal affective disorder differs from the winter blues in that it has little or no connection to the events in your life or your likes and dislikes, its just a weird physical thing that will always come when the seasons change. Its also not just depression, it causes other minor physical and mental discomforts such as gaining and shedding Ibs and feeling "on edge" at certain times for no real reason. Some people may argue that this is caused by the depression itself but I don't think so.
    Unfortunately, there aren't any alternatives to taking supplements. Going to a tanning salon in the winter would allow you to increase your body's natural production of Vitamin D, but at the expense of skin health.
    There are barely any good sources of Vitamin D in our food, so you would have to consume humongous quantities of the right foods to get as much as you would from one tiny pill.

    This article from T-Nation explains the entire issue better then I could:

    http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_..._is_for_doping

    For what it is worth, I have all my daily pills and supplements (multi-vitamin, fish oil, Vitamin D) stored right between my tooth brush and my mouth wash. It is simply a part of my morning routine so I can't forget it anymore then I can forget to brush my teeth.

    I hope this helps.

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