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5 Safe and Effective Ways to Treat Seasonal Depression
Arguably the biggest curmudgeon in the history of English literature, Ebenezer Scrooge was a
heartless penny-pincher who hated the holidays. Before his miraculous, eleventh-hour
transformation, the old miser loved nothing save money and misanthropy. Although there are
several theories as to where Charles Dickens got his inspiration for the character, none include
the most likely explanation: Scrooge was based on a man who had seasonal depression!

What is it?
Often starting in the fall, worsening in the winter, and ending in the spring, seasonal affective
disorder (SAD) is a recurring condition that strikes millions of Americans. Like other forms of
depression, SAD has a laundry list of common symptoms, including:
· Irritability
· Sadness

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· Anxiety
· Weight gain
· Lethargy
· Fatigue
· Trouble concentrating
· Loss of interest in usual activities
· Less social
· More homebound
How common is SAD?
It is reliably estimated that more than half a million U.S. adults have seasonal affective disorder.
Another 10 to 20 percent exhibit mild symptoms of winter SAD that may be described as the
"winter blues" or "cabin fever." The difference between the two disorders is the seriousness and
number of symptoms they experience as well as their duration.
Who gets SAD?
About three-quarters of those that are treated for the disorder are women, and onset is generally
in early adulthood. Men, older adults, and children are less prone to SAD. Because symptoms
may be linked to daylight, those who reside in cloudy regions and/or at high altitudes are at an
elevated risk of the perennial condition.
What causes SAD?
Although the exact cause of the disorder is unknown, there is ample evidence to suggest that
seasonal affective disorder is precipitated by decreasing hours of daylight during the winter
months. Why some people, particularly women, are more susceptible to SAD is a medical
mystery... But there are several compelling theories that might explain it.
One widely accepted theory is that decreased exposure to sunlight disrupts the circadian
rhythms that help our internal biological clock regulate sleep, hormones, and mood. With this
clock running on an unhealthy schedule, we are far more likely to feel down in the dumps or even
depressed.
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Another theory posits that shorter days and longer hours of darkness adversely affect two
specific chemicals in the brain - melatonin and serotonin. The former is largely responsible for
sleep-wake cycles, while the latter helps regulate mood. When melatonin rises and serotonin
falls because of less daylight, it creates the biological conditions necessary for depression.
Again, we don't know why some people are more prone to SAD than others, but many, perhaps
even most, will experience a few of its most common symptoms when hours of daylight dwindle.
How is SAD treated?
Many who suffer symptoms of SAD on an annual basis do their best to maximize the amount of
sunlight they're exposed to during the winter. Taking an afternoon walk or simply sitting near the
window on a sunny day may help treat a mild case of the disorder, since serotonin production
goes up when people take in more sun. In more extreme cases, however, doctors may prescribe
antidepressants. But because these powerful pills have a whole host of serious side effects, that
option should be avoided, if possible. With that in mind, here are five safe ways to combat SAD.

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1. Take a trip to a tropical paradise
There's a reason tens of millions of Americans visit Florida, the Caribbean, and other sunny
destinations during the gloomy brumal months. They may not say it, but many of these sunbirds
undoubtedly suffer from SAD, or at least from the winter blues. Escaping the cold and overcast
skies on a sundrenched winter vacation could be just the medicine you need to pull yourself out
of the doldrums.
2. Bring on the light
Also known as phototherapy, those with SAD can purchase or rent a device called a light therapy
box that mimics sunshine. Significantly brighter than a regular light bulb, light therapy boxes
produce light in many different wavelengths. Most users are instructed to spend 30 minutes a
day in front of these medical devices in order to stimulate serotonin and suppress melatonin.
When used correctly, light therapy boxes have proved efficacious at restoring the body's natural
circadian rhythms when sunlight is scarce.
3. Take a daily constitutional
As we mentioned earlier, many SAD sufferers break out their walking shoes during the late fall
and winter months as a way to attenuate the symptoms of the disorder. The best time to walk is
in the late afternoon, when the sun is highest in the sky and its rays are most intense. Many
regular walkers find that short and long bouts of brisk walking help them manage their SAD in a
healthy, productive way.
4. Get moving
One of the most common symptoms of seasonal affective disorder is weight gain. Whether
sufferers eat because they are depressed or are depressed because they eat, many find
themselves snacking much more than they normally do during the winter. To break the vicious
cycle, it is imperative that you get more exercise when the symptoms of the disorder are
strongest -generally in the dead of winter. Though outdoor exercise is the most helpful option,
any activity that gets your heart beating will make you feel better about yourself and should help
you maintain your weight. So if you can't get outside because its cold and snowy, use the
stationary bike, treadmill, or elliptical machine at your local gym. And if you can, choose one by
the windows so you can get some exposure to the sun.

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5. Eat more curry!
No, we're not being flip. Studies have shown that one of the main ingredients in curry, the spice
turmeric, is a natural antidepressant. One recent clinical trial found that curcumin, the chemical
compound responsible for the biological activity in the spice, is just as effective at treating major
depressive disorder as fluoxetine (Prozac). Although researchers are uncertain why curcumin
works so well, animal testing has revealed that the compound produced a marked increase of
serotonin levels in some subjects.That fact alone may be responsible for the antidepressant
activity of curcumin. Of course, you don't have to consume massive quantities of curry to get a
healthy dose of the natural phenol. Widely available as a dietary supplement, curcumin may help
alleviate the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.

Conclusion: A sometimes serious medical issue that is striking a growing number of Americans,
SAD is best treated naturally, according to most medical professionals. Only in extreme cases
where sufferers have exhausted all other options should they even consider powerful prescription

antidepressants with their serious side effects. Although simple, even obvious (except for the
curry!), our quintet of tips has proved remarkably effective at treating the annual condition in a
safe and natural way.
Know more about geniux ingredients

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