Friday, January 29, 2010

Symptoms and Solutions for Seasonal Affective Disorder

In my experience, students' grades always took a nosedive during third quarter. It really never made sense because they had just returned from winter break. You would think they would be rested and ready to tackle the new semester with renewed energy, determination, and motivation. But, alas, such is not the case.

After years of questioning why grades suffered during January, February, and March, I finally came upon a possible answer. It is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and is a form of depression that occurs in relation to the seasons; typically winter because of the short days and lack of sunlight.

Google Health lists the symptoms as:

  • Afternoon slumps with decreased energy and concentration
  • Carbohydrate cravings
  • Decreased interest in work or other activities
  • Depression that starts in fall or winter
  • Increased appetite with weight gain
  • Increased sleep and excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Lack of energy
  • Slow, sluggish, lethargic movement
  • Social withdrawal

Any student with these symptoms is likely to have trouble keeping up with their school work. But there are solutions. The most common is light therapy that uses a lamp to simulate sunlight.

On Thursday, January 25, 2010 the Dr. Oz show offered some advice for this disorder. The following is from the Dr. Oz Website:

Get through the dark winter days with 5 tips to beat the winter blues:

  1. Peppermint oil – helps with sadness, depression. Inhale a whiff to give you a burst of energy.
  2. Fluorescent compact bulb – these bright lights can actually change the levels of melatonin in your brain inhibiting depression. They’re also very inexpensive!
  3. Chili peppers – contain capsaicin, which boosts your energy and can enhance your circulation.
  4. Ginger tea – it boosts your metabolism, increasing weight loss!
  5. Gingko biloba – makes you more alert and boosts your brain-power.

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