Vim & Vigor - Spring 2011 - North Mississippi - (Page 50)

Brighten Up A Is seasonal affective disorder affecting you? Here’s what you need to know s you trudge through the last bleary, cold months of winter, the promise of spring is just around the corner. And that means things will start to look up for many who suffer from a specific type of depression known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. In meantime, though, SAD is more than just a case of the blues. “[It] is a real, treatable condition—not just feeling stressed at the holidays or down because Christmas is over. SAD can set off depression that affects your ability to function. It affects your work, family life and social life,” says Paul Hill, M.D., a psychiatrist with North Mississippi Medical Center’s Behavioral Health Center. “If you sleep more, crave carbohydrates, gain weight and are depressed during the winter, that could mean you have SAD,” says Hill. The condition usually starts when a person is in his or her 20s or 30s, he says, and it recurs most winters, starting about October and resolving by late March. The disorder is twice as common in women than men. Seeing the Light Paul Hill, M.D., helps patients understand treatment options for seasonal affective disorder at NMMC’s Behavioral Health Center. “The theory is that during winter months, our eyes are exposed to less light,” Hill says. “The pineal gland is stimulated by full spectrum light. That gland is what makes melatonin and serotonin, hormones that affect our sleep and our mood. When the pineal gland gets less light stimulation, those hormone levels can drop, setting off the depression.” Treatment for SAD can include a light box— a device that produces bright, full-spectrum light. The patient sits in front of the box so that it hits his or her eyes. “Light boxes are medical devices that have been in use since the mid-1980s. The idea is to trick the brain into thinking that the day is longer than it is—14 to 16 hours instead of eight,” Hill says. “Treatment can also include medications for depression and counseling. Ideally, treatment should begin in September so that your body is ready for it, and can be discontinued in March.” What You Can Do It is important that individuals suffering from SAD remain active. “This is an easily treatable disorder. Don’t give in to the carbohydrate cravings—they won’t make you feel better. Get plenty of exercise and be outdoors as much as you can,” Hill says. 50 Vim & Vigor • SP R I N G 2 011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vim & Vigor - Spring 2011 - North Mississippi

Vim & Vigor - Spring 2011 - North Mississippi
Table of Contents
Opening Thoughts
Pump It Up
Heart of the Matter
Every Minute Counts
A Workout for Every Mood
Don’t Fail Your Heart
If Your Bones Could Talk
Healthy Travels
Over 40 and Fabulous
Do-It-Yourself Health?
Fighting Words
Balancing Act
Giving & Getting
Brighten Up
Welcome Aboard
Catch the Spirit

Vim & Vigor - Spring 2011 - North Mississippi