Hypnotherapy and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Winter is now well and truly with us, the clocks have gone back, its dull wet and cold so people are starting to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD for short.

According to the NHS, 7% of the UK population suffer from SAD and it is defined as a type of depression that has a seasonal pattern. The cause of this disorder is not fully understood although it is widely believed that it is connected to a reduction in the amount of sunlight suffers are exposed to during the shorter days of the year.

There are two very important chemicals that are affected by the reduction in light levels both of which are produced in the brain; Melatonin and Serotonin.

Melatonin is produced when it get dark and it makes us feel sleepy; this is how are body knows that it is night time and that it is time for us to sleep. As the days get shorter and the nights get longer we start to produce more Melatonin this makes us feel sleepy which in turn encourages us to sleep for longer. Individuals who suffer from SAD produce a far higher amount of Melatonin than they need.

Serotonin production is also affected  by the amount of sunlight you are exposed to, so as the days become shorter we start producing less Serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter and is responsible for maintaining a good healthy state of mind. Serotonin is largely responsible for making us feel motivated, enthusiastic, happy and generally has a huge effect on our mood and our behavior , including our appetite, sleeping pattens and our memory and learning ability. Individuals suffering from SAD produce far lower levels of Serotonin than they need. Hypnotherapy helps to stimulate the brains production of Serotonin.

If someone is suffering from depression they can suffer from a wide range of symptoms including.

  • Depressed mood such as feeling sad, empty  tearful.
  • Lack of interest and pleasure in their daily life.
  • Weight  changes increase in appetite and food cravings.
  • Broken sleep pattern or sleeping to much.
  • Fatigue and loss of energy.
  • Feelings of helplessness, guilt and feeling worthless.
  • Lack of ability to think, concentrate and inability to make a decision.
  • Feelings of anger.
  • Loss of libido.

However if all of this was down to just lack of sunlight then we would expect to see more than 7% of the population suffering with this.

The way in which we think about things has an impact on how we feel and behave. If I take two of my friends for example, when winter was approaching one of them started posting winter recipes and good books to read on her face book page along with links to funny films and loony Christmas jumpers. My other friend however had a rant about the winter constantly posted negative things and complained about having to be at work when its daylight and being at home when its dark. Which one do you think I am going for a drink with? Its not Mr grumpy!

Hypnosis helps the SAD sufferer to re look at and re-frame their views on this time of the year. It helps in creating a much more positive and relaxed state of mind.

It is worth remembering that our brain will always look back at previous patterns of behavior in any situation that it finds itself in. So for example if for the last ten winters you’ve slept a lot, put on weight, felt depressed and stopped socializing because its cold dark and damp outside your brain will look back at last winter to what it was doing when it was cold wet dark and damp outside. Well it can see that you got depressed ate too much, slept to much and stopped going out and if its worked for the last ten winters it lets you do it again. Hypnotherapy can help you change these patterns enabling you to establish a more positive pattern and be more in control of how you feel this winter.

If you are suffering from SAD and are in the Ipswich or Harwich area and would like more information on how Hypnotherapy can help you through the winter cal me on 07710 794052 or email me on andynortonhypntherapy@gamail.com for more information, or to book your free initial consultation.

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