Posted by Deborah Pujoue on November 7, 2011
Cooler weather is upon us. The sunshine is slowly starting to hide behind the clouds more and more each day. While I am not really a hibernator in the winter, most of the people I know are, and if you are one of them you might be starting to feel a bit blue.
You may be ready to hide away and keep indoors unless you absolutely have to leave the house. This urge to hibernate and stay away from the cold is common and gives off the same effect that rainy days do in that we might just feel like we are in an overall funk. This feeling is called “seasonal affective disorder.”
When a person experiences seasonal affective disorder during this time of year, it can often be attributed to the lack of sunlight and the warmth it gives. The return to a regular routine, with the children going off to school again, can also contribute to it. The lack of sunlight can cause some people to feel depressed, anxious and fatigued. Others experience more severe symptoms of seasonal affective disorder such as insomnia and even suicidal thoughts. This is the time that your doctor will start thinking of prescribing you antidepressants like Paxil, Prozac and even Zoloft.
SSRI antidepressant medications are the most popular proposed “quick fixes” for seasonal depression, but they can be very dangerous, too. SSRIs have been proven to cause severe side effects that wind up being far worse than the sadness you started out with. If you are a pregnant woman, taking SSRIs during your pregnancy can also cause birth defects such as cleft palate, PPHN, and heart, lung and brain defects in your baby. And that’s nothing to what the drugs can do to you personally.
If you are suffering from seasonal affective disorder, try getting outside for some fresh (albeit cooler) air and exercise. Research shows that exercise can be an excellent way to help manage your depression symptoms, and it offers no side effects at all. I take walks all winter long and I love the refreshing and invigorating feeling I get from it. The best part is that it also keeps you fit — you may even lose a couple of pounds if that is your goal. I don’t know about you, but that would definitely put a smile back on my face again!