Seasonal Affective Disorder: What You Should Know

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The bright lights of the holiday season aren’t just for decoration; they can also help regulate your mood.

In late fall and winter, shorter daylight hours leave many people with little to no sun exposure, signaling the brain to create too much of the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin.

This overproduction of melatonin leads to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a mood disorder that affects an estimated 10 to 20 percent of the population.

SAD Differs from Depression

Major depression is a disease in which your brain’s pleasure responses are broken. You may have a loss of appetite, fatigue, trouble sleeping and feelings of hopelessness. Depressed people often have a harder time managing their symptoms in the winter. But when depressive symptoms are only affecting you in the winter, it’s considered seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

SAD Affects Men and Women Equally

Historically, researchers have considered women to be more likely to experience seasonal depression. But psychiatrists are increasingly finding that’s not the case. “The classic crying and melancholic depression is more the norm of expression in women. But men express things differently, showing depression with more irritability, anger or frustration,” said Dr. Andrew Angelino, director of psychiatry at Howard County General Hospital.

Ways to Reverse SAD

If you can’t get outside during daylight hours, there are ways to help reverse your body’s creation of too much melatonin.

“If you find that you’re prone to getting the blahs in the winter months or you know you have depression and are taking your medicine, you can also get a light box,” says Dr. Angelino.

Absorbing natural, full-spectrum light regulates hormones in the brain, and helps keep your moods stabilize. In addition to obtaining a light box, Dr. Angelino recommends these five tips to help chase away the seasonal blues:

  1. Keep your holiday expectations realistic. Don’t let your hopes for perfection spoil your holiday spirit. Learn how to embrace things as good enough, like food, company and gifts.
  2. Practice wellness. A daily routine of at least 7 hours of sleep, a 30-minute exercise routine and limiting your alcohol intake can go a long way in fighting the blues.
  3. Stand in the sun. Take a break from your desk. At least 15-30 minutes of sunlight, especially in the early morning, helps to regulate your internal clock.
  4. Cultivate some winter hobbies. The chilly weather may freeze your weekend gardening plans but it may be the best time to catch up on your reading list or tackle a new project in the house. Adjust your leisure activities to fit the seasons.
  5. See a doctor if natural interventions are not successful. If your symptoms are regularly interfering with your everyday life, make an appointment with your doctor.

Article Source: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/articles-and-answers/prevention/seasonal-affective-disorder-what-you-should-know?utm_medium=social&utm_source=Facebook&utm_campaign=Health&utm_term=SADAnswers&utm_content=HealthSection

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Exploring the role of testosterone in the cerebellum link to neuroticism: From adolescence to early adulthood

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Highlights

  • Cerebellar volumes correlate inversely with neurotic personality traits in adolescents and young adults.
  • In males, higher endogenous testosterone levels is associated with lower scores on neurotic personality traits and larger cerebellar gray matter volumes.
  • Testosterone significantly mediates the relation between cerebellar gray matter and measures of neuroticism.

Abstract

Previous research has found an association between a smaller cerebellar volume and higher levels of neuroticism. The steroid hormone testosterone reduces stress responses and the susceptibility to negative mood. Together with in vitro studies showing a positive effect of testosterone on cerebellar gray matter volumes, we set out to explore the role of testosterone in the relation between cerebellar gray matter and neuroticism. Structural magnetic resonance imaging scans were acquired, and indices of neurotic personality traits were assessed by administering the depression and anxiety scale of the revised NEO personality inventory and Gray’s behavioural avoidance in one hundred and forty-nine healthy volunteers between 12 and 27 years of age. Results demonstrated an inverse relation between total brain corrected cerebellar volumes and neurotic personality traits in adolescents and young adults. In males, higher endogenous testosterone levels were associated with lower scores on neurotic personality traits and larger cerebellar gray matter volumes. No such relations were observed in the female participants. Analyses showed that testosterone significantly mediated the relation between male cerebellar gray matter and measures of neuroticism. Our findings on the interrelations between endogenous testosterone, neuroticism and cerebellar morphology provide a cerebellum-oriented framework for the susceptibility to experience negative emotions and mood in adolescence and early adulthood.

Article Source: http://www.psyneuen-journal.com/article/S0306-4530(16)30688-6/abstract?cc=y=

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Boston Testosterone Partners
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