Who would benefit from a Therapy Shack?
Almost anyone - from the person that works indoors in artificial light, for large parts of the day to the people who suffer the Winter Blues.
The Winter Blues is a type of winter depression which affects people every winter between September and April, in particular during December, January and February. It is caused by a biochemical imbalance in the hypothalamus due to the shortening of daylight hours and the lack of sunlight in winter. For many people SAD is a seriously disabling illness, preventing them from functioning normally without continuous medical treatment. For others, it is a mild but debilitating condition, causing discomfort but not severe illness, which we call sub-syndrome SAD or winter blues.
The symptoms usually reoccur regularly each winter, starting between September and November and continuing until March or April, and a diagnosis can be made after three or more consecutive winters of symptoms, which include a number of the following:
Sleep problems - usually desire to oversleep and difficulty staying awake but, in some cases, disturbed sleep and early morning wakening
Lethargy - feeling of fatigue and inability to carry out normal routine
Overeating - craving for carbohydrates and sweet foods, usually resulting in weight gain.
Depression - feelings of misery, guilt and loss of self-esteem, sometimes hopelessness and despair, sometimes apathy and loss of feelings.
Social problems - irritability and desire to avoid social contact.
Anxiety - tension and inability to tolerate stress.
Loss of libido - decreased interest in sex and physical contact
Mood changes - in some sufferers, extremes of mood and short periods of hypomania (over activity) in spring and autumn.
Most sufferers show signs of a weakened immune system during the winter, and are more vulnerable to infections and other illnesses. The symptoms disappear in spring, either suddenly with a short period (e.g. four weeks) of hypomania or hyperactivity, or gradually, depending on the intensity of sunlight in the spring and early summer. In sub-syndrome SAD, symptoms such as tiredness, lethargy, sleep and eating problems occur, but depression and anxiety are absent or mild. The symptoms may begin at any age but the main age of onset is 18 - 30. They occur throughout the northern and southern hemispheres but is extremely rare in those living within 30 degrees of the Equator, where daylight hours are long, constant and extremely bright.
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