Aromatherapy and Seasonal Affective Disorder
By Brenda Stansfield
It’s that time of year again. The kids are back at school and the holidays are looming in front of us. Just when we need all the energy we can muster, IT descends upon us: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). For many individuals in northern climates, myself included, the onset of seasonal depression is signaled by a sense of emptiness, fatigue, lethargy, food cravings, lack of concentration and/or disturbed sleep patterns. Once dismissed as ‘simply the blues’, mainstream medicine has acknowledged that this is a true disorder affecting as many as one in 20 individuals during the fall and winter months. Reduction of sunlight is often cited as a primary cause of SAD. Without the correct full spectrum light patterns that we are used to during the summer months, our neurotransmitter serotonin levels become irregular and an increase of the hormone melatonin (from the pineal gland) causes us to be come depressed at varying degrees.
Most people will 'snap out of it’ on their own, others can benefit from holistic care: aromatherapy, light therapy, herbal supplements and a sunny vacation!
(Please note that severely depressed or suicidal individuals should seek the care of a physician and may need to consider the addition of antidepressant care. Never dismiss or self-treat massive depressive disorders yourself or encourage anyone to discontinue medication when being treated by a physician).