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Originally published July 28 2004

Seasonal Affective Disorder sufferers need natural sunlight, not antidepressants or artificial light

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

There is a lot of information about seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.) available on the internet and in the medical literature today, but most of the information about this disorder fails to inform readers about the real causes of it, and the simple, effective treatments for reversing it.

First, let's talk about the causes of seasonal affective disorder. The medical definition of SAD is: symptoms of depression coinciding with seasons of shorter days and less sunlight. This is blamed on the so-called biological internal clocks, or circadian rhythm, and it is said that SAD sufferers are more likely to be women and younger persons. Other symptoms include a craving for sugary foods, such as sweets, candies, and refined carbohydrates. Now, all of this is true -- these are the accurate symptoms of seasonal affective disorder -- but what is the real cause of this disorder?

Much of the medical literature talks about the cause as being some sort of hormone imbalance. This is a distraction from the true cause of SAD, which is quite simply lack of exposure to natural sunlight. Or, put another way: sunlight on your skin. If you lack sufficient sunlight on your skin, you will suffer terrible health effects, including depression, osteoporosis, prostate cancer, breast cancer, and even schizophrenia. That's because the human body was designed to be exposed to sunlight on a frequent basis. We evolved, after all, under the natural sun -- not under fluorescent lighting, nor in an environment where we were eating prescription drugs off of the bushes and trees. Our environment was one with plentiful sunlight, and that is the environment in which we belong.

So despite what the medical literature might say, the one and only cause of seasonal affective disorder is lack of natural sunlight on your skin. This is because sunlight provides an essential element to the human body: something that you need on a frequent basis in order to achieve optimum health, just like vitamins and minerals and other phytonutrients that support your health. When you don't get natural sunlight on your skin, you suffer from a nutritional deficiency, just as if you weren't consuming vitamins or minerals.

If you go without natural sunlight for long enough, these symptoms will become apparent enough to be diagnosed by a physician, and that diagnosis will typically be named "seasonal affective disorder". The proper name for this, however, should be "sunlight deficiency" -- but of course that's far too simple and straightforward for modern medicine, which tends to complicate all diseases, and thereby put their treatments out of reach of common, everyday citizens. If it were called sunlight deficiency, you see, that would actually give people a better idea of what to do about it. And with that in mind, let's move on to the treatments of seasonal affective disorder.

Once again, the answers are remarkably simple. In order to reverse seasonal affective disorder, or sunlight deficiency, the only treatment necessary is of course to get more natural sunlight on your skin. I don't understand why this simple solution escapes the knowledge of doctors and medical researchers (or those who are steeped in the practices of western medicine). Sunlight is the answer, and all people need to do is step outside and expose their skin to natural sunlight -- without using sunscreen -- for a few minutes each day, and their body and nature will take care of the rest.

I think one of the reasons why this simple but wholly effective treatment is not promoted by the medical community is because it is outside the control of doctors, prescription drug companies and the FDA. The FDA can't regulate sunlight, and therefore they can't approve it as a medical device. I'm sure this comes as a great let-down to the agency, which would of course love to not only regulate natural sunlight, but control who can sell it and who can get it. If that were the case, you can bet that the health benefits of natural sunlight would be front-page news. If it could be encapsulated into a pill and sold to patients for $1000 a month, you would hear all sorts of amazing news about the miracles of natural sunlight. Doctors would be taking pills and raving about the health benefits, and patients would be on lifetime prescriptions of this vibrational nutrition drug.

But of course natural sunlight is not available in capsule form -- it's available free of charge, and so western medicine has no financial interest whatsoever in educating people about its benefits. In fact, people who get natural sunlight and reverse their own state of clinical depression or seasonal affective disorder actually take profits away from Big Pharma, so in reality there's a strong incentive for pharmaceutical companies to make sure people never learn about how to heal themselves with natural sunlight: it causes a drop in their profits! (In a similar way, Big Pharma also works hard to prevent prevention by suppressing information about nutrition, herbs and nutritional supplements that actually prevent chronic disease, but that's another article...)

A person who makes a point to get natural sunlight on their skin on a frequent basis -- daily, if possible -- will experience a wide range of healthful benefits, including improvement in mood and an ending of any state of depression they may have experienced, increased bone density and reversal of symptoms of osteoporosis, help in reversing prostate cancer and breast cancer, and enhanced mood and brain function. Before long, the patient will of course no longer qualify as having seasonal affective disorder, and if they were to visit a physician, that doctor would tell them they no longer have the disorder. So, reversing seasonal affective disorder is not only simple and straightforward, it is also free of charge and something that you are unlikely to be advised to do from anyone in the western medical community (i.e. the vast majority of doctors).

Depending on where you live, of course, it may be difficult for you to get natural sunlight on a regular basis, and so the next best thing is to get high-intensity, full-spectrum lighting, which is available from various light boxes and seasonal affective disorder treatment devices. These are essentially very bright lights that radiate some of the same frequencies as the natural sun directly onto your skin (and into your eyes) where they have a similar effect. However, this is only the second best thing. Nothing replaces the natural sun in terms of intensity and frequency. So light boxes are a good choice if you can't get the sun, but if you live in a climate where you can get regular sunlight, then natural sunlight is of course your best choice.

Moving on, the idea that many people with seasonal affective disorder are treated with anti-depressant drugs strikes me as extremely bad medicine, if not an outright con on the part of doctors and pharmaceutical companies. When people lack nothing more than natural sunlight, but are doped up on anti-depressant drugs that have been linked with increased rates of suicides and that dramatically alter brain chemistry in ways that we still fully don't understand, that is, I think, the epitome of modern medicine. It endangers the health of patients in exchange for generating profits for pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies while ignoring the simple, free and most effective methods for treating the disorder in the first place. This is a common theme in western medicine, of course: ignoring the free treatments that really work (like drinking water, getting sunlight, taking low-cost nutritional supplements) while treating symptoms with high-profit prescription drugs that merely mask symptoms and do nothing to address the underlying cause of the disorder or disease.

Of course, these pharmaceutical companies very much want everyone with seasonal affective disorder to be taking these antidepressant drugs on a regular basis. And many physicians fail to properly diagnose clinical depression as nothing more than a sunlight deficiency, therefore they end up prescribing these drugs and then, two years later, after the patient has been on the drugs, they still wonder why the patient isn't getting any better. The answer is because they're still not getting natural sunlight on their skin. So, once again, the answer is nature, not drugs.

The other point here concerns sunscreen. In modern society, people have been brainwashed into somehow believing that the sun is a great bringer of evil that should be avoided at all costs. People put sunscreen on their skin every time they step outside, and they cover their bodies with clothing and hats in order to avoid any speck of light from touching their pale, white skin. This is absurd. Engaging in such practices will rapidly move any person towards all of the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. That's why people who use a lot of sunscreen and avoid the sun typically are depressed and have very low bone density (as well as suffering from chronic diseases like prostate cancer or breast cancer).

So sunscreen actually blocks the one nutrient that most people are lacking in modern society: natural sunlight. It's nutrition that you simply must have in order to be healthy, and sunscreen gets in the way of your body receiving that nutrition. That's how crazy our modern society has become: we purposely apply cancer-causing sunscreen lotions containing toxic fragrance chemicals in order to block out the healing rays of the sun that provide essential nutrition to the human body. How's that for health insanity? And in the mean time, most doctors remain clueless about any of this. When was the last time your doctor actually prescribed "more sunlight?"

The bottom line to all of this is that seasonal affective disorder is treated in the same way that many chronic diseases should be treated: that is, relying on nature -- sunlight, plants, fresh air, clean organic food, regular physical exercise, superfoods, sea vegetables, and living foods. You don't need anti-depressant drugs, and in fact to treat seasonal affective disorder, you don't need to visit a doctor or interact with anybody from western medicine at all. This is one disorder that is best treated by steering clear of organized medicine in its entirety. Visit a naturopathic physician, and she'll tell you basically the same thing I've been telling you here: go outside and get more sunlight. This isn't rocket science, folks.


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