Despite February being the shortest month, for many, it can ultimately feel like the longest. It's the time of year when winter seems to have lasted forever, along with its cold temperatures and gray skies. This makes February one of the hardest months for those who suffer from winter depression, known clinically as seasonal affective disorder.
Although seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, can occur in the summer, it's most common to experience SAD in the winter. It's seen most often in those living in areas that do not receive adequate sun. Seasonal affective disorder is thought to be the result of reduced exposure to sunlight, which can affect circadian rhythms (the biological clock), as well and serotonin and melatonin levels, both of which play a part in regulating mood.
It's important to view SAD as a real illness, and not just the "winter blues." The symptoms of seasonal affective disorder are very similar to those experienced by people suffering from major depression, and therefore should not be treated casually. Some of the effects of SAD include:
- Weight gain
- Inability to focus
- Unexplained sadness and depression
- Disruption of regular sleep patterns
- Loss of interest in activities and social opportunities
There are natural treatments for seasonal affective disorder that can be effective. One way to help alleviate the symptoms of SAD is the use of clinical aromatherapy. Ascents offers several different essential oil blends that can assist in treating the above issues. Calm No. 34 can be used for feelings of anxiety; Energize No. 17 provides an uplifting boost for low energy and lethargy; and Focus No. 04 is an excellent way to improve concentration and focus.
Ascents® clinical aromatherapy blends can be used both for stand-alone symptomatic relief, and also as a helpful adjunct to other treatments such as light therapy or even medications when required.
The signs of SAD should not be ignored. Professional help should always be sought for ongoing feelings of depression, anxiety or any of the other symptom of seasonal affective disorder. A medical professional is the only person who can definitively diagnose SAD.