Seasonal affective disorder examined


COLUMBUS, GA. – Opelika native Sarah Taylor is a colorful person. Despite her bright and fun loving ways she has a dark side.

“When I feel fall coming I almost..I think I almost am anticipating not feeling well,” says Taylor. “I love the flavor of pumpkin and cinnamon and all of that… I almost hate it too because I’m like I know what this means… you introducing the evil cold wet dark winter.”

She suspects her seasonal depression may stem from Hashimoto’s disease. However, about 4 years ago her symptoms started to fade through a radical diet and lifestyle change. Her winter depression faded too.

“It’s made a huge difference… my body has responded beautifully because I have removed all of the toxins and the inferences that were contributing to the disease process and I began to support myself with natural ways.”

Want to know her secret?

“Vitamin D drops is what I take in the fall and winter,” says Taylor.

She also gets in the sun twenty minutes a day. Some of her tools aren’t conventional… like smelling a pink bottle of flower extracts. Even in some medical circles her methods are controversial. But Mark Strunk, a long time counselor with the Pastoral Institute, says the whole categorization of SAD comes laced with controversy itself.

As he sifts through the counselor’s manual looking for a description on SAD he says “yeah not in here.”

Mark says for years SAD used to be listed in counselor’s handbook (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).

But Strunk says it hasn’t necessarily been deleted from the manual, but it’s just falling under the umbrella of depression.

“It’s basically depression showing up at different times of the year for different people,” says Strunk.

No matter how it’s categorized Strunk tells me depression is depression. He says it should be addressed. He says an indicator you may need to see a professional is if your depression is impacting your job or even daily life.

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