Homeopathy for Winter Blues
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“The world is half empty. I get negative and irritable …with the cat, with myself, with my husband.”. Marilyn, who came to me for homeopathy, found the winters really difficult. The snow, ice and freezing temperatures made it hard for her to get out and walk. And without the sunshine and exercise, she got depressed. The winter she came to see me, was even more of a struggle, because she was not going on her usual winter, sunshine break, designed to alleviate her symptoms. She was suffering from Winter Blues, otherwise known as Sub-Syndromal Seasonal Affective Disorder (S-SAD), which is a sub-clinical version of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Homeopathy for Winter Blues can be used as a complement or alternative to conventional treatments. But first, let me describe the symptoms…
Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder
In Northern Europe, 2% of the population suffer severe depression as a result of SAD. In the UK, up to 6% of adults have recurrent major depressive episodes. SAD is caused by reduced exposure to daylight in the winter months. Other SAD symptoms on the mental level include feeling irritable, anxious, apathetic, guilty, and being unable to concentrate. Physically, a sufferer may have great difficulty getting up in the morning, feel very tired and sleepy during the day, and generally need more sleep. She may also over-eat, (especially carbohydrates and sugar), leading to weight gain, and have lowered immunity. And while 2% may not sound like many, another 20% of us suffer from S-SAD, or Winter Blues, like Marilyn. That is, we experience mildly debilitating symptoms – not enough to put us into full depression – but sufficient to cause discomfort during the winter months.
Conventional Approach & Everyday Measures
Conventional approaches include anti-depressants, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and Light Box therapy. There are also many everyday, self-help measures, such as ensuring you get outside for as much time as possible during daylight hours, especially around midday. So perhaps a walk at lunchtime, rather than staying at your desk. And exercise, diet and avoiding stress wherever possible, all ensure you don’t exacerbate symptoms. It’s also worth supplementing with Vitamin D. A very large percentage of the population both in Northern Europe and the US is deficient in this vitamin, so I would recommend taking it anyway. But if you have SAD, then there’s even more reason, as Vitamin D deficiency is, in some cases, the underlying cause.
Homeopathy & SAD
A number of studies have shown homeopathy to be effective for treating mental and emotional conditions. A recent one concluded that homeopathy was as effective for treating moderate to severe depression as the SSRI, Fluoxetine…but without the side-effects of course.
So what about Marilyn, whom I mentioned earlier? After a month on the indicated homeopathic remedy, she reported as follows “I have been feeling very, very good. The world is now half full, rather than half empty. The remedy has made a dramatic difference. I feel more positive”. And this in the winter month of February.
Another client, had recently come off anti-depressants, and was still struggling with low mood. Though not suffering specifically from Winter Blues, she had a related symptom: One of the triggers for her to feel very down and emotional, was when a sunny day turned cloudy. I prescribed her a different remedy from Marilyn. She also said it made a big difference: “Three days after taking the first dose I was on fire. The veil of death lifted and I felt very up. It was like being rocketed out of the horrible, murky place, where I felt indescribably underground…” She said she looked forward to taking her fortnightly dose, as it made her feel so great each time.
There are a several remedies in homeopathy for Winter Blues. So if a prescription is to be effective, it has to be tailored by a professional to the person’s specific symptoms, personality, life and medical history, any trigger event, and their physical traits. I also sometimes give additional remedies to specifically stimulate the hypothalamus and/or the pineal glands to work better, because of their involvement in the syndrome.
30% of us in Northern Europe, in the winter months, get up and come home in the dark, according to a recent survey by Mental Health Research UK. Add to this the fact that 9% of us have no natural light where we work, and taking a break at lunch is frowned on, and you can see why 22% of us suffer with some form of SAD. Perhaps if employers knew that one million working hours a year in the UK are lost to SAD, they might take some action.
Adler, U.C., Paiva, N.M.P., Cesar, M.S., Molina, A.E., Padula, A.E., Calil, H.M., 2011. Homeopathic Individualized Q-Potencies versus Fluoxetine for Moderate to Severe Depression: Double-Blind, Randomized Non-Inferiority Trial. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Volume 2011, Article ID 520182. Available to read on this link here.
Management of seasonal affective disorder; Management of seasonal affective disorder. BMJ. 2010 May 21
Seasonal Affective Disorder, MIND, for better mental health
Seasonal Affective Disorder, Patient.co.uk
Seasonal Affective Disorder, SAD.org.uk
The Seasonal Affective Disorder Association
Free Discovery Call
A free 20 minute call for you to find out how homeopathy could help you,
and what to expect from working with me.