New link to the winter blues – alternative medicine can help

Tuesday 2nd September, 2008

seasonal affective disorderAs the nights begin to draw in and we all retreat into our homes to escape the bleak weather, scientists have discovered a seasonal change in brain chemistry that may well be the cause of the ‘winter blues’.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a debilitating condition and a form of depression. Seasonal affective disorder is attributed to lack of daylight particularly over the winter months.

The new study from the University of Toronto suggests that a lack of light might make proteins which clear the brain of serotonin more active. Serotonin is a mood-altering chemical.

Seasonal affective disorder affects thousands of people every year in the UK and symptoms of SAD include mood swings, anxiety, withdrawal, disturbed sleep, lack of energy and loss of sex drive.

The latest research has also revealed that people who live in places where they experience a temperate climate with plenty of bright and sunny days tend to happier and have more energy. This declines when the season shifts to a dark and colder climate during the winter.

The study was carried out on 88 people between 1999 and 2003 and used brain scans to monitor the activity of the protein known as a serotonin transporter. When the protein was active there were lower levels of serotonin produced which increased the likelihood of depression

The protein was also found to be most active during the autumn and winter seasons and that light may affect that activity.

There are a number of effective and beneficial alternative medicine and complementary therapy techniques to combat the effects of SAD. These include: NLP, Counselling, Psychotherapy, Hypnotherapy, Art Therapy and Life Coaching.



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