Screening for Mental Health says that many Americans begin feeling the effects of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) around this time of the year. SAD is often brought on by the lack of sunlight during fall and winter months, and its symptoms include sleeping and eating in excess, extreme fatigue, weight gain, depression or irritability, and lack of interest in socializing and enjoyable activities.
SAD symptoms generally subside as spring and summer arrive. Mild cases of SAD can be treated by getting additional sunlight during the fall and winter seasons, which can be accomplished by taking long walks in the daytime, or sitting by a window while the sun is out. More severe cases of SAD can be treated with light therapy devices, which expose the user to very bright fluorescent light each day.
However, psychiatrists often treat SAD patients with antidepressants, which have come under fire recently for serious negative side effects, including suicide and violent behavior. Americans who take advantage of Screening for Mental Health's free examinations will also be checked for other mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder.
Consumer advocate Mike Adams, author of "Take Back Your Health Power," calls the free mental health screenings "a thinly veiled patient recruiting scheme organized and funded by drug companies," and urges patients who believe they are experiencing SAD to seek the advice of a qualified naturopathic physician for safe treatment options.
"Seasonal Affective Disorder is really just sunlight deficiency," Adams said. "If you suffer from the symptoms of SAD, all you need is more sunlight or light therapy, not prescription drugs."
In addition to getting more sunlight, SAD sufferers can consume specific foods and supplements for enhanced brain health, including fish oils that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, raw nuts, oily fish, raw fruits and vegetables, and whole grains.