Think I might have SAD, what is the next step?

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I hate the winter, always have, always will. But for the past 6 years or so, I've been feeling really terrible every year between about October and April. It starts with changes in sleeping patterns/insomnia, then progresses to include exhaustion, low mood, tearfulness, anxiety (by the bucketload) and general self-loathing, coupled with a desire to eat everything sugary or sweet in sight. I also feel that nobody around me knows or cares what I'm going through, and that everything is hopeless.

This year, I thought I'd managed to get away without it, and had even started to do some regular exercise and eliminate the junk food from my diet, in an effort to maintain a healthy body and mind. However, in January, all the above feelings hit me almost overnight, and I experienced one of my worst episodes to date. Needless to say, I hit the sweets and cakes with avengance and felt so utterly exhausted that my exercise programme went out the window. My sleeping pattern is all over the place - I find myself exhausted at 7pm, and wide awake at 4am, but don't know how to change the cycle.

I feel I owe it to my partner and little girl to get this investigated, but don't really know where to start. Is the GP the first port of call, and is there a particular line of enquiry he/she would follow in order to ascertain if I even have the condition, and if I do, what the treatment plan might be?

Any help would be much appreciated.



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  • Posted

    Hello Sally,

    It sounds like you may have the SAD condition. The majority of people do tend to have feelings of low moods and low self-esteem in the winter months. Some unfortunately suffer worse than others. There have been research studies to show that this could be because of the lack of sunlight, due to the darker days. This gives us a lack of vitamin D, which could result in depressive moods. Vitamin D supplements may help, and foods such as Fatty fish (such as tuna, salmon, and mackerel) are a good source also. Additionally, there is a therapy available called light therapy, where you would sit by a light box, and it is designed to lift your mood.

    The fact you now dread the winter months is a real problem and shows that it is time to get a professional opinion. Your GP is the best place to begin, and should be able to offer you options. In the meantime, try to keep up with eating healthily, but again, allow treats for yourself. Exercise is also a great way to help with your symptoms. I hope that helps.

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  • Posted

    Yes I have has this and successfully overcome it. There are a few things I would recommend:

    1. Get a SAD lamp and expose yourself to it for 30 minutes or so every morning. Eg if you work at a desk, you could put it in front of the keyboard each morning to naturally brighten your day.

    2. From a nutritional perspective take a combination of a really good b vitamin complex supplement each morning and then 500mg of DHA form fish oil and a 5-hyrdoxy tryptophan supplement each night. This can really help with mood and well being.

    3. Consider meditating using properly engineered brainwave entrainment. It's like effortless meditation on steroids. Have a look at RevitaMind by Active Minds Global. Listening to the "mind Revitalizer' track once each morning upon making seemed to make a major difference for me.

    Also exercise as much as you can.

    Hope this helps

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  • Posted

    Thanks Guys,

    That's a really great help. I have already started on the vit B supliments and have definitely noticed I feel much better now than say a few weeks ago. I can say with 100 percent certainty that I feel great whenever I go outside, so perhaps it is a vit D thing.

    Have you any ideas about the best type of exercise to do? I was doing half an hour on the cross-trainer at about 7pm after putting my little one to bed, but I think that woke me up and was perhaps a bit too full on. I'm now walking about 30-40 mins per day outside with my daughter in buggy or on back, but don't think that's enough.

    Thanks again,


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  • Posted

    Try the cross trainer in the morning plus brisk walking outside in the sun with your daughter. That should be enough.

    Do you get enough fish oil ? 500mg plus of DHA (which would come from 1500mg+ of fish oil).

    Omega 3 fatty acids may be deficient in breast feeding mothers.

    Other than that, look into the brainwave entrainment.

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