Sunday 22 February 2015

Q&A with Marla Ahlgrimm: Guide to Conquering Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Marla Ahlgrimm
Just around the time when we turn back the clocks and the days get shorter and colder, many people start to experience a form of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), according to women’s health expert Marla Ahlgrimm. In the following Q&A, Marla Ahlgrimm explains what SAD is and how to address it.

Q: When does SAD start and how long does it usually last?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Generally, SAD starts when clocks are changed in the fall and lasts until spring.

Q: What are the symptoms of SAD?
Marla Ahlgrimm: SAD often presents with fatigue and low energy but then involves more symptoms of depression such as sadness, irritability, lack of concentration, lethargy and apathy. SAD victims also crave carbohydrate foods, which can lead to weight gain.

Q: What causes SAD?

Marla Ahlgrimm: SAD has been linked to a biochemical imbalance in the brain. When seasons change, biological internal clocks shift, causing people to fall out of sync with their daily schedules.

Q: How common is SAD?

Marla Ahlgrimm: SAD is estimated to affect 10 million Americans and is more common in women, with 80 percent of sufferers being female.

Q: Is there a treatment available for SAD?
Marla Ahlgrimm: The first recommendation is to get outside into the sunlight daily, coupled with exercise. If that is not feasible, a light box can help with SAD. SAD sufferers need 20-30 minutes of daily exposure to a bright light.

Q: Is SAD the same as having the “winter blues?”

Marla Ahlgrimm: No. The winter blues are a milder version of SAD. Between 10-20% of Americans may suffer from mild symptoms associated with the winter blues.

Q: Should SAD be taken seriously?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Yes, SAD should certainly be taken seriously, because in some cases SAD has been linked to suicidal ideations and self-harm.

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