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Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a kind of depression that appears at certain times of the year. It usually begins in the fall when the days get shorter and lasts through the winter. A less common form of seasonal affective disorder affects people in the summer months and usually starts in the spring. If some of these feelings seem to happen each year, have a real impact on your life, and improve during certain seasons, talk to your doctor. It is very important not to diagnose yourself without speaking to your doctor because there may be other causes for these symptoms.
And even if it does turn out to be depression, it may not be the SAD form of depression. There are some groups of people who are at higher risk of seasonal affective disorder.
If you think you might have seasonal affective disorder, talk to your doctor. Your doctor can help rule out any other causes for your symptoms, like thyroid problems or other types of depression. Some common treatments for SAD include:. Although there are many alternative therapies for depression, there is less evidence available that they actually work. Some people find that certain herbal remedies help with their mild depression symptoms like those experienced with SAD. Remember that even herbal remedies can have side-effects and may interfere with other medications.
Dosages can also vary depending on the brand you use.
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Talk about the risks and benefits of herbal or other alternative treatments with your health care provider and make sure they know all the different treatments you are trying. If you have SAD, the best first step is always to talk to your doctor. They can help you decide which, if any of the above treatments would be best for you.
In addition to talking to your family doctor, check out the resources below for more seasonal affective disorder information:. More than languages are available. HealthLink BC Call or visit www.
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You can call for information on local services or if you just need someone to talk to. If you are in distress, call do not add , or before the number 24 hours a day to connect to a BC crisis line, without a wait or busy signal. The crisis lines linked in through have received advanced training in mental health issues and services by members of the BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information.
It is less common and tends to be more serious. Diseases of the arteries : Atherosclerosis, a build-up of plaque in blood vessels, or Buerger's syndrome, a disorder where blood vessels in the hands and feet become inflamed, can cause Raynaud's symptoms. Primary pulmonary hypertension has also been linked to the disease. Diseases of the connective tissue : Most people with scleroderma , a disease leading to hardened skin, have Raynaud's disease.
The symptoms are commonly linked to lupus , rheumatoid arthritis , and Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease affecting glands. Repetition or vibration : People whose hobbies or jobs require repetitive movements, such as typing or playing the guitar or piano, are at risk of developing Raynaud's symptoms. Those whose jobs involve using vibrating tools, such as a jackhammer, are also at risk. Carpal tunnel syndrome : This condition puts pressure on the nerves traveling to the hand, and it increases susceptibility to Raynaud's symptoms.
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Medications : Drugs that can induce Raynaud's include beta blockers , migraine medications containing ergotamine or sumatriptan, ADHD medications, some chemotherapy drugs, and some over-the-counter cold remedies. Exposure to certain substances : Smoking narrows blood vessels and is a possible cause of Raynaud's. Other chemicals, such as vinyl chloride, may also play a role.
Injuries : Raynaud's can start after injuries such as frostbite , a broken wrist, or local surgery. Raynaud's tends to affect females more than males. Primary Raynaud's normally starts between the ages of 15 years and 25 years , and secondary Raynaud's between 35 and 40 years. The condition appears to run in families. A person a first-degree relative with Raynaud's is more likely to develop it.
The exact pathways of Raynaud's disease are not known, but it probably results from a combination of factors, and the combination of factors probably differs between individuals. Nitric oxide is a strong vasodilator. It has been found in people with secondary Raynaud's but less so in those with primary Raynaud's disease.
Raynaud's Syndrome - What You Need to Know
Endothelin-1 is a potent vasoconstrictor. People with primary Raynaud's have been found to have high levels of this protein. Serotonin , a neurotransmitter, has been found in high concentrations in people with Raynaud's. Platelet activation appears to be higher in people with Raynaud's. Platelets are components in blood that clump together to help prevent bleeding.
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Fibrinolysis is a natural reaction that takes place in the body to reduce clotting. Some studies have linked low levels of fibrinolysis with Raynaud's. Oxidative stress is caused by an increase in free radicals, and it could be involved in Raynaud's. When temperatures drop, the blood vessels contract in the fingers or toes. This contraction causes hypoxia, or lack of oxygen, to the affected tissues.
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Fingers and toes will feel cold to the touch and possibly numb. Often, the affected area will turn white, then later turn blue. Once the area is warmed and blood flow returns, a tingling sensation may accompany a red flush and, possibly, swelling. There may also be a painful, throbbing sensation.
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Some women may experience Raynaud's phenomenon of the nipples, especially during breastfeeding. It causes severe throbbing, similar to that experienced with a fungal Candida albicans C. An episode normally lasts around 15 minutes, including the time it takes for the body to normalize. To reduce the risk of an attack, it can help to keep the feet and hands warm, avoid smoking, and get enough exercise. If an attack starts, it may be reduced or prevented by warming the hands and feet at once, for example, by massaging them.
The feet and hands should be protected from cuts, bruises, and other injuries as far as possible, because the lack of circulation can make it harder for them to heal. It is also more common in women, people with a family history, and those over age Treatment for Raynaud's may include drugs to keep the blood vessels open. There are also simple things you can do yourself, such as. Raynaud's Disease Also called: Raynaud's phenomenon. Learn More Related Issues Genetics.
See, Play and Learn Images. Research Clinical Trials Journal Articles. Resources Find an Expert. For You Patient Handouts. There are also simple things you can do yourself, such as Soaking hands in warm water at the first sign of an attack Keeping your hands and feet warm in cold weather Avoiding triggers, such as certain medicines and stress NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.