Home remedies for seasonal affective disorder | Columnists

By Kellen Brent Pierce

This year, on the summer solstice, the sun rose at 4:20 a.m., Nice. The sun set that day at 11:43 p.m. for just under 19 hours of sunlight. Meanwhile, come this winter solstice, on Saturday, the sun will rise at 10:14 a.m. and it will be set at 3:41 p.m., for five and a half hours of light.

Between the two, Anchorage lost an average of six minutes of light per day.

Of course, we will begin to recover daylight at the same rate as of December 22, but that does not do much at this time to help the fraction of our population affected each year by seasonal affective disorder or SAD.

According to Psychiatry.org, the APR affects an average of 10 percent of the population, although that number increases significantly the farther away from the equator. So, if you feel a little down here in the dark, 4,231 miles from the equator, you are not alone. However, whether you like it or not, you are in it in the long term, since it is believed that the effects of APR continue during the darkest 40% of the year.

While serotonin is most often associated with a positive mood, it turns out that the chemist does a lot of work; Literally, 90% of the serotonin in the body is found in the gastrointestinal tract, where it regulates bowel movement. However, the other 10% of its functions are equally crucial. Serotonin levels affect mood, appetite, sleep and cognitive functions such as memory and learning. In this context, serotonin deficiency is one of the causes of SAD.

Of course, there are some home / over-the-counter remedies to get your brain out of the Bell Jar, which I will now list in no particular order and with an absolutely zero emphasis here, ZERO endorsement.

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Happy lights

Also known as light therapy boxes, "happy lights" mimic outside light. When we expose our eyes to sunlight, the brain releases serotonin to motivate us and chemically increase our happiness. The Mayo Clinic recommends happy lights of at least 10,000 lux, or 10,000 lumens per square meter, strong and that filter all or most of the UV rays. Experts also recommend using light 16 to 24 inches from the face, 20 to 30 minutes at a time, first thing in the morning. Eyes open but without looking at the light. People diagnosed with bipolar disorder are recommended to consult their doctor first, as light therapy could trigger a manic episode.

Marijuana

A 2017 research review conducted by Dr. Susan Stoner (seriously) of the Institute of Drug and Alcohol Abuse at the University of Washington noted that "THC and CBD appear to have similar effects to antidepressants in animal models in certain dose but not in others, "and that" some evidence suggests that reductions in marijuana use by people with depression can actually reduce depressive symptoms, "but then, in a statement to Seattle Weekly, Dr Stoner admitted the unfortunate "shortage of research on the use of marijuana in humans." So remember, while there is not much scientific data, there are many pro-cannabis websites out there, and your friendly local friend, to provide anecdotal evidence.

5-HTP

It is available without a prescription in the supplement aisle at most local supermarkets. Abbreviation for 5-hydroxytryptophan, this supplement is sold as an antidepressant, appetite suppressant and sleep aid.

In the body, 5-HTP exists as a necessary amino acid for the body to produce serotonin, and because MDMA depletes the body of serotonin, 5-HTP became popular in the ecstasy / MDMA scene as a remedy to next day. A 2002 study found that 5-HTP was more effective than placebo in the treatment of depression, but as with all other therapeutic trials, the data were preliminary and inconclusive. In addition, because 5-HTP is considered a nutraceutical, it is not subject to tests or regulations, which means that even if you get a high-grade 5-HTP product accurately labeled, there is not enough evidence to ensure you have a positive effect.

Melatonin

Also available as an over-the-counter supplement, melatonin exists within the human body as a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. In 2006, researchers at the Oregon University of Science and Health discovered that many of their subjects suffering from SAD, most of them nocturnal, benefited from low doses of melatonin in the afternoon or evening. However, because melatonin is used as an aid to sleep, it is known that regular use exacerbates depression in those who suffer from it, in which case vitamin D was prescribed to counteract it. Which brings us to

In this case there is a lot of research and evidence. People with SAD have often found themselves deficient in vitamin D. One study found an 8-week delay between maximum exposure to UV (sunlight) and SAD, which is approximately the time it takes for the body to convert the UV radiation in vitamin D. However, for the number of studies that have been done, the correlation between vitamin D deficiency and SAD is just that: that when one exists, the other generally does too.

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Psilocybin

Until now, the recommendation of magic mushrooms to treat depression would have been from their distributor and would have included a long tirade about the government. But last month, for the second time in a year, the Food and Drug Administration designated psilocybin therapy as an "innovative therapy," an action aimed at accelerating the testing and review process. This designation is generally requested by a pharmaceutical company and suggests that the compound can be a huge improvement over existing therapies and treatments. Of course, there is much anecdotal evidence to support psilocybin; It's called microdosing, and you probably have at least one friend who recommends it.

Now, remember, self-medication can be dangerous. But the ACA open enrollment extension just ended yesterday, and if you can't afford a doctor, at least now you have clues.

. (tagsToTranslate) seasonal affective disorder (t) therapy (t) serotonin (t) vitamin d (t) medicine (t) pharmacology (t) anatomy (t) physiology (t) psychiatry (t) dietary psychology (t) (t) (t) melatonin (t) susan stoner (t) psilocybin deficiency

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