Fall is the season for depression, especially in the northern climates. Although the fall colors can be beautiful many times they are dimmed by the falling rain, blowing wind and constant grey skies. This may be one reason why there are so many holidays in the fall and winter. Our ancestors may have looked for any excuse available to brighten the outlook.
There are some scientific reasons why fall is a season for depression. Some of them are from nature, such as dreary and dismal weather. Other ones are manmade. Both can be avoided if we first become aware of them, then work to overcome them in our lives.
Once sunlight hits the retina, a signal is sent to the brain center which controls the production of critical "mood" transmitters, namely melatonin and serotonin. If we go for long periods being deprived of this light, it gradually affects the everyday production of these critical mood-lifting neurotransmitters. It also provides a unique infrared heat that helps the body detoxify. Using special lighting and sitting in an infrared sauna won’t completely eliminate the blues, but it might help. Adding some good Vitamin D will increase the effect.
There are ongoing studies on the effect of Vitamin D on depression. The results are very promising. Vitamin D is best found in direct sunlight on the body. When that is not available then the second best form is a D3 supplement. It also seems to have a big effect on insulin resistance. People with Type II diabetes are insulin resistant. They tend to have more problems with depression than the average population. In reverse, people with depression seem to develop insulin resistance at a greater rate than those without depression.
What you put in your mouth seems to have a big impact on how you feel. Since the introduction of sodas about fifty years ago the percentage of the population with depression has skyrocketed. Studies are showing that the amount of these sugary drinks plays an impact on the likelihood of developing depression. People who drink four cups (8oz) a day are 30% more likely to be depressed than non-drinkers. Those that have more increase that likelihood to 38% or more. The interesting thing is that it isn’t the sugar, because those that drink the diet versions are even worse off.
Many people turn to their doctors for help with their depression. Sometimes it seems to help. At other times it makes the underlying problem worse, sending the person into a psychotic episode that ends in violence against themselves or others. Unfortunately there is currently no way to tell if and when those episodes are going to occur. It can seem as if everything is working until the person goes out and does something violent. Then it is too late. The increase in mass murders statistically follows the increase in the use of antidepressants and other mood altering drugs.
What does seem to work? Changing from a typical American diet to one based on wholesome, organic foods. This includes dropping the grain products, even the organic ones. Also dropping the sugar seems to help a lot. Including saturated fats also fuels the mood stabilizers. Make sure the saturated fats come from organic sources. Commercially grown fats tend to have the opposite effect.
Niacin (B3) has been shown to have a great impact on mood. In fact, the studies are showing it can ‘cure’ alcoholism, anxiety, tension, and even schizophrenia. Sounds like depression would be a no brainer for this little mood powerhouse. Indicators that this would be a wise choice to combat your depression would be if you also suffer from high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diarrhea, mental confusion and/or insomnia.
Having depression does not mean that you are weak. It means that you are trying to be strong without the proper resources. Providing both your body and your mind with what it needs will make them, and you, stronger for the long haul.