Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) also known as "winter blues" was originally proposed in 1984 by Doctor Norman E. Rosenthal who, upon moving from sunny South Africa to New York, noticed his general sense of happiness and "well-being" declining.
Being the inquisitive Doctor he was, Rosenthal set out to do a series of tests using artificial light.
He noticed that after high amounts of exposure to this artificial light, his mood improved significantly.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is not a separate disorder, according to the American Psychiatric Association but a "course specifier" which basically means that the diagnosis is added to certain types of depression and bi-polar diagnoses.
Seniors who may spend more time indoors than other group, may be at a higher risk of developing SAD, due to added factors including sitting for extended periods of time, lack of exercise (less than most age groups) and even factors like loneliness and feelings of being isolated, especially around the holidays
Many studies have been done in various parts of the world since Rosenthal's initial findings and the once original "mood disorder" was eventually changed to a major depressive disorder by Rosenthal and the National Institute of Mental Health. It is estimated that SAD affects between 2%-10% of Americans. Seniors may have a higher rate of diagnosis.
In other parts of the world, such as Canada and Japan, Doctors have expected to find high rates of (SAD) but instead found significantly lower rates and have attributed this improvement to a diet, high in fish, which is a great source of Vitamin D (the same benefit believed to be provided by sunlight for SAD sufferers).
Americans currently consume only about 25% of the fish consumed by their Japanese counterparts. Fish is a great source of essential nutrients and just may be crucial for a loved one's holiday cheer!
Seniors should also focus on exercise, during the up & coming cold, winter months. Strength training exercise has been proven to treat depression, help with weight loss, improve their sense of well-being and keeping your body as strong as possible, while also help to avoid injuries caused by the inactivity this winter.
This year, as we approach the 2013 Holiday Season, Seniors should:
• Get the proper amount of safe, sunlight exposure each day (even by sitting at a window).
• Try to eat Tuna, Salmon and other healthy fish at least once per day.
• Walk at least 30 minutes each day.
• For every hour of sitting in a chair, stand for 5-10 minutes.
• Perform a whole body strength training routine 3 days a week
This is the time of year to put a proper strength training and diet plan, in-place and STICK WITH IT!
Do these things for yourself and you may be able to give away plenty of smiles for Christmas!
Please share this information with a Senior who, you feel may benefit from knowing this.
A rising tide lifts all boats.