Talk About ~ 14 Nov '11

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   Posted 11/14/2011 11:35 PM (GMT -6)   
Anybody affected by winter coming on? SAD can have serious effects on someone's life especially if they are unaware of it's existence. Below is a short description of SAD from the (NIMH)National Institute of Mental Health and the (NIH)National Institute of Health, along with the website address.

Have you ever been affected by long, dark winters or know someone who has? How does it affect you and what are you able to do about it? Does it affect your pain in any way? Hopefully a discussion about this disorder will help those who are troubled by it to find some help.

As for me, I haven't had problems with is, in fact I love winter and the long nights but my mother had a hard time with late fall and winter and it didn't seem to lift until early spring. She knew it was a problem but never did take any action to get a diagnosis or to treat it with light. Actually her solution after she and Dad retired was to travel starting after Christmas (some years before the holidays) and return home (Western Washington state, USA) come spring. They traveled mostly in the southern USA where she naturally got more light. So in some way she did treat the problem. What a fun treatment! smilewinkgrin The problem was that after Dad was gone winters were very hard. From what I've seen it's something that should be talked about with your doctor and possibly get some treatment. Life doesn't have to be miserable if you have SAD.


Some people experience a serious mood change during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. This condition is called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. SAD is a type of depression. It usually lifts during spring and summer.

Not everyone with SAD has the same symptoms. They include

Sad, anxious or "empty" feelings
Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness
Irritability, restlessness
Loss of interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
Fatigue and decreased energy
Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
Changes in weight
Thoughts of death or suicide

SAD may be effectively treated with light therapy. But nearly half of people with SAD do not respond to light therapy alone. Antidepressant medicines and talk therapy can reduce SAD symptoms, either alone or combined with light therapy.
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Fibromyalgia, IDDM. UC, , Osteoarthritis slowly meandering around everywhere
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   Posted 11/15/2011 3:29 AM (GMT -6)   
I don't have SAD, but I do feel it when we go days/weeks at a time without the sun breaking through properly - when you get up in darkness and go to bed in darkness. I have mild depression, and that is definitely worse when I don't get enough sun exposure - not sure how much is purely depressive illness or whether there is something physical involved - I'm severely Vitamin D deficient as well

I don't cope well with the cold either. We don't get too bad here - our daytime maximums are anything from 8-18C and our overnights are -2-6C but that's freezing for me. That said, I love the things that winter brings with it - being able to curl up in front of the fire, the hearty soups that are best eaten in winter... watching my dog ice-skating across our deck shocked

MT Lady
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   Posted 11/15/2011 12:07 PM (GMT -6)   
I have not been diagnosed with SAD, but my guess is I do have it. Last year, I bought a "Happy Lamp" sold at Costco for $50...they are so good about returns, I figured I'd try it out and if it didn't work, back it would go. Well, I think it is working! Can I prove it? No, but I think I do feel better. I have actually used it all year long, especially on rainy days in spring and summer. Seems like if I go more than a day without sun, I do get depressed. I have it on my desk, so when I come here to be on the 'puter, I turn it on, keep tabs on the time, suppose to use it from 30 to 60 mins. Other than that, I am very affected by the fall, change of seasons. I do have fibromyalgia and going into fall really causes some major flares which in turn seem to trigger depression.
Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, scoliosis, DDD L1/L2, L3/L4, L5/S1, sciatica, severe spinal stenosis L5/S1, severe facet joint pain syndrome, hypothyroidism.

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Date Joined Aug 2006
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   Posted 11/15/2011 4:55 PM (GMT -6)   
yes, I guess it does effect me...usually happens when the days start to get shorter
and it's darker outside, I'd rather have the sun out....but I also get help from a counselor,
which helps with my illness and seasonal disorder, I do believe the other name for it is seasonal disorder...
But for me, it is harder in the winter time....the cold also makes my fibro and RA flair up...
* So many dx's I could write a book* "It would be nice if we could use the edit button in real life"...

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 235
   Posted 11/15/2011 11:19 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone !Chutz,thanks for bringing up SAD,I think Iwill be getting a happylamp this year!Its very cold here in canada and my recovery from surgery,has been very hard ,the pain level is down ,only chest pain and neck/shoulder but it gets better everyday.I also am getting off the oxycontin ,only 2pills aday !I see the dr.tomorrow.Yet Iam feeling so out of energy and lazy,also have such a coldchill thurout my body?Ihave not even wanted to go on computer or outside my house!I was so gunhoe to start doing all things after surgery ,yet I might have pushed myself abit too much before Iwas ready.Seems I'm in a slump now and slowly must build up my energy.I hope the happy lamp works for me.Ireally don't want to take antidepressents.I'm trying to ween off all meds ,this week I'm going down to 1 oxycontin aday,if possible! Take care

Heather Lynn
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Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 283
   Posted 11/15/2011 11:23 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for this timely topic Chutz.

I suspect I do suffer from some degree of SAD. I lived in Arizona for four years, and I think my mood was better overall there. And I've had a really rough week and a half since the time change. I'm not sure if it's all in my head, but I also get a little agitated/overly happy when we set the clocks ahead in the spring.

I have a light box because I have a sleep disorder called "delayed sleep phase disorder", which just means I have a hard time falling asleep and a hard time getting up. I've had a lot of trouble getting myself up early enough to actually use the light box (oh, the irony), but the DSPD was actually helped a lot by CBT rather than the light box. I might try to use the light box this winter if I feel my mood getting low though.

Last winter I coped by just "powering through". I took up winter bike riding and enjoyed the challenge. This year I am feeling more fragile, and I find myself coping by taking it easy, and trying to make life easier for myself. I'm not sure if that's good for me or not.
Fibromyalgia, low back pain/SI joint dysfunction, anxiety, obstructive sleep apnea, endometriosis, asthma

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Date Joined Nov 2011
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   Posted 11/16/2011 12:19 AM (GMT -6)   
What a great topic to bring up....I have never been dx with sad, however I do find fall and winters very hard on my pain levels, it seems the colder it gets the more I ache. I suffer from mild depression and do find that I have to up my vitamin d dose and this seems to help. My husband and I try to head south for 3or 4 wks. and plan to go south up to 4 or 5 mths once we retire, I find I o much better with warmth and sunshine.

50yr.old female
fibromyalgia,chronic pain and mild depression

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Date Joined Oct 2008
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   Posted 11/16/2011 1:10 AM (GMT -6)   
i don't personally have issues with SAD, but my wife does. she had a real hard time when we lived in northern NH years ago, all the long weeks of cloudy skies and endless snow and cold. even living here in SC, she has a hard time with it, best cure for her is a yearly trip to FL to visit her brothers, usually in January or February.

david in sc
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Date Joined Aug 2008
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   Posted 11/16/2011 3:03 AM (GMT -6)   
Interesting subject.... and one that I've thoughts lots on...

I have the "opposite" of traditional fall/winter SAD. After a few years of seeing the trend - I talked to my doctor about it a couple of years ago.... thinking he would seriously think I'd lost it - because I would find myself so much better (depression wise) in the fall/winter - and then as the sun appeared in the spring to summer - I'd have increased anxiety... my insomnia was worse... and so forth.

Anyway, there really is a thing called "summer-onset" SAD (hey, what do you know? I haven't completely lost it). From the reading I've done - it's most common in women in their child bearing years.... Also -where as traditional fall/winter SAD can be triggered by a lack of sunlight... summer onset SAD can be triggered by increased temperatures...

Just food for thought. :)


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Date Joined Oct 2010
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   Posted 11/16/2011 1:52 PM (GMT -6)   
I don't experience significant SAD, but do find that sunlight exposure helps wake me up and boosts my mood.

However, cold and damp weather does significantly increase my pain levels. When I have to be out on cold days, I'll use chemical heating pads under my clothes.
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