Monday, December 11, 2006

Winter blues and blahs


…HA lives in a so-called resort area now (Phoenix), which she likes to call the Last Resort, but she remembers those gray days like a ceiling over your head, traffic sloshing down drenched avenues, ick, ick.

…Everything goes into slow-mo, including your brain.

…Staying in bed was always a flash of an option in that first few seconds of wakefulness.

…Writing in the NYT (Dec 5, 2006), Jane Brody talks about how one person in five actually may stay under the covers in winter weather.

…We all know now it’s a real thing, seasonal affective disorder, or the genius acronym, SAD.

…There is not enough light to power some people!

…As the battery runs on low, some people feel less energetic, less creative, even less sane.

…One doc says it’s a form of jet lag, a disturbance in the 24-hour Circadian rhythm.

… With delayed dawn and shorter days, some people drift out of rhythm, just as if they had jetted across a few time zones.

…With jet lag, the body synchs up again in a few days.

…With SAD, it takes five mos.

…They also have found that two-thirds of SAD sufferers need morning light and evening melatonin to get back on track. The others need the reverse.

…In the future, this doc says, it may be possible to dose SAD folks with tiny doses of melatonin on timed-release. But this has not been worked out yet.

…Norman E. Rosenthal, MD, the SAD guru (HA has talked to him several times), says SAD is more of an energy crisis than true emotional depression.

…The symptoms of the two are similar, though…that leaden feeling, dragging out of bed, forcing onself to function, the gobbling of carbs.

…Right now, severe sufferers sit in front of a light box that emits 10,000 lux from a fluorescent bulb for at least 45 mins a day, moring or evening, depending on one’s problem. Check out www.cet.org for more info.

…Other kind of fun approaches include a “dawn simulator,” a device that gradually turns on the lights in the morning.

…Negative ion generators are also tried instead of light boxes. This can be used while sleeping. See website above.

…Some docs also recommend short bursts of cognitive therapy to corrrect negative behaviors such as not getting up.

…Also, they say, eat a calorie-conscious diet with lots of protein instead of those Krispy Kremes.

…Of course, being doctors, they always say that. They can’t help it.

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