COVID19 and Seasonal Affective Disorder
Three Essentials to Combat a SAD State of AffairsMillions of American adults may suffer from seasonal affective disorder, SAD, although many may not know they have the condition. SAD occurs much more often in women than in men, and it is more common in those living farther north, where there are shorter daylight hours in the winter.
Symptoms of winter-pattern SAD, may include:
· Feeling sad most of the day, nearly every day
· Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
· Experiencing changes in appetite or weight
· Feeling sluggish or agitated
· Having low energy
· Feeling hopeless or worthless
· Having difficulty concentrating
· Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide
· Oversleeping (hypersomnia)
· Insomnia or waking up often and can’t go back to sleep
· Overeating, particularly with a craving for carbohydrates
· Weight gain or weight loss
· Social withdrawal (feeling like “hibernating”)
Research indicates that people with SAD may have reduced activity of the brain chemical (neurotransmitter) serotonin, which helps regulate mood. Studies also suggests that sunlight controls the levels of molecules that help maintain normal serotonin levels, but in people with SAD, this regulation does not function properly, resulting in decreased serotonin levels in the winter.*
To add insult to injury, besides the winter blues, we now have the COVID19 factor. Fear and anxiety about a new disease and what could happen can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones, your financial situation or job, or loss of support services you rely on can be devastating. Public health actions, such as social distancing, can make people feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and symptoms listed above.
The specific cause of seasonal affective disorder remains unknown. Some factors that may come into play include:
· Your biological clock (circadian rhythm). The reduced level of sunlight in fall and winter may cause winter-onset SAD. This decrease in sunlight may disrupt your body's internal clock and lead to feelings of sadness.*
· Serotonin levels. A drop in serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that affects mood, might play a role in SAD. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin that may trigger depression.*
· Melatonin levels. The change in season can disrupt the balance of the body's level of melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood.*
· Deficits in vitamin D may exacerbate these problems because vitamin D is believed to promote serotonin activity. In addition to vitamin D consumed with diet, the body produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight on the skin. With less daylight in the winter, people with SAD may have lower vitamin D levels, which may further hinder serotonin activity.*
As the season is upon us, to fight the symptoms of COVID19 anxiousness, depression and SAD, I recommend adding Mood Plus, D3+K2 Cofactor Complex, Neuro Night Essentials, and Pro GAD Enhancer, by Neurobiologix to your emotional arsenal.