FMS and SAD (Seasonally Affective Disorder)

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by beamurto, Dec 10, 2002.

  1. beamurto

    beamurto New Member

    Hi, my name is Belinda and I live in the UK. I am the mother of a 21 yr old daughter who has had FMS for several years now.

    I have noticed that as the winter progresses her symptoms get worse and this causes depression, which in turn makes symptoms worse.

    I think I am right in saying that FMS sufferers have lower melatonin/seratonin levels. It would make sense in that case that winter light levels = problems.

    Has anyone done any research, do you know, into light therapy and the use of light box? Or has anyone taken melatonin to help FMS.

    I would love to hear from anyone in the US. Here in the UK we have the idea that your doctors are way ahead of their UK colleagues.

    Hugs to all, Belinda.
  2. beamurto

    beamurto New Member

    Hi, my name is Belinda and I live in the UK. I am the mother of a 21 yr old daughter who has had FMS for several years now.

    I have noticed that as the winter progresses her symptoms get worse and this causes depression, which in turn makes symptoms worse.

    I think I am right in saying that FMS sufferers have lower melatonin/seratonin levels. It would make sense in that case that winter light levels = problems.

    Has anyone done any research, do you know, into light therapy and the use of light box? Or has anyone taken melatonin to help FMS.

    I would love to hear from anyone in the US. Here in the UK we have the idea that your doctors are way ahead of their UK colleagues.

    Hugs to all, Belinda.
  3. Annette2

    Annette2 New Member

    Nice to meet you Belinda. I suffered from SADS for many, many years - I think it started when I was a little girl. I have been on antidepressants for a long time - I'm taking Effexor right now. Between therapy and the meds, I don't suffer as much as I used to. I also realized that since God make the seasons, He knows what He's doing. I realized I can't fight the seasons and just need to accept that this is the way it is. So I try to think positively about winter. I was also told halogen lights help, since they emit a very strong light. I never took melatonin or used a light box. Maybe someone else here on the board has experience with this. By the way, I was visiting in London exactly 12 years ago to the day. My husband was in the Navy and we were stationed in Italy. He had to work in a clinic outside of London and my son and I accompanied him. We got up at 7:30 a.m. and it was still dark outside! It didn't get light until 8:30. And the sun went down around 3:30! So I do understand how dreary it can be for you at this time of the year! I hope your daughter finds relief!

    Annette2
  4. jsthorn

    jsthorn New Member

    Hi Belinda,

    I have both FMS and SAD. I live in the southern part of the US.

    For 7 years or so I have treated my SAD with antidepressants and light therapy. I use a light box that replicates bright afternoon sunshine.

    Sometimes the antidepressants stop working for me and all I have is the light box which IMHO does help quite a bit. It doesn't fully chase away the depression but it certainly helps lift it. Your mileage may vary.

    I have had only one doctor recommend light therapy. I don't think SAD is included in curriculums in medical schools. When people complain of winter depression the common response is to prescribe antidepressants only.

    I talked to a person once who grew up in Norway. As you might expect SAD is prevalent in a place that has little daily sunlight in the winter! He said you can find light boxes in many homes and public places and that SAD is a recognized problem.

    Good luck!

    Jesse[This Message was Edited on 12/11/2002]
  5. Shirl

    Shirl New Member

    Hi Belinda, welcome to the board.

    I do not have SAD, I am one of those people who love 'dreary' weather better than sunshine. Maybe because I live in Louisiana (Deep South in the States), lots of sunshine here.

    But I do take Melatonin. I take 3 milligrams before bed to help me fall asleep. Have been taking this for about 12 years now. Some people take less and it works fine too.

    I have never had any adverse reactions from taking Melatonin.
    I treat myself, more or less with supplements/herbs. I am not too much with the doctors, I have had Fibromyalgia for 20 plus years, and I have gotten more help and relief from this board, books, and newsletters than the medical profession.

    By the way, I doubt if the medical profession is so great here where Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is concerned. No one seems to have any definate answers in any country right now.

    Anything else we can help with, please feel free to ask, and I do so hope you find some help for your daughter.

    Again, welcome to the board.

    Shalom, Shirl


    [This Message was Edited on 12/11/2002]
  6. beamurto

    beamurto New Member

    Thanks so much to everyone for the wonderful welcome and responses. I really appreciate hearing from you all.

    Off to work right now, so will come back later.

    Gentle hugs to all, Belinda
  7. griswoldgirl

    griswoldgirl New Member

    on the subject yesterday. I suffer from SAD and did not know it until I moved to an area with seasons. I lived in Palm Springs Ca for years and always sunny. Now I am in NC where it has been cold dismal and either storming with ice or raining for about 3 weeks now. I am already depressed due to other circumstances--recovering from surgery, #$$$ probs etc.
    It is nice to know I am not alone

    cathy
  8. twjen

    twjen New Member

    Hi Belinda, I have suffered with some SAD depression for several years during the winters before FMS symptoms.
    I do agree that the SAD makes fms worse, as over the summer my symptoms greatly improved aside from a few of them.
    But this also leads me to believe that fms may also be a form of arthritis, as arthritis seems to follow same pattern with seasons. My dr. just prescribed me trazodone for sleep, which is also an antidepressant. I dont feel as depressed this year as I usually do though. I dont understand this however, if seratonin levels are low already, than how do antidepressant work by lowering seratonin levels even more? I dont even know what seratonin is, guess I should do a search about it. Anyway,
    is your daughter using melatonin? As for Doctors in the US, If they are more advanced in fms than elsewhere I would have to laugh a little. Most seem to me to be guessing, as the rest of us. Hope your daughter finds something that helps her. Thanks for sharing this info. Jen
  9. beamurto

    beamurto New Member

    Hi everyone

    Following on from what people are saying about the lack of understanding by doctors in the US, I was wondering if you would be interested in visiting the UK fibro site and get a taster of what is happening here. The website address is:

    www.ukfibromyalgia.com

    FMS has finally been recognised by the Dept of Health here as a bona-fide illness, which is a huge step forward; getting non-sufferers to understand the problems fibromites face is another thing entirely.

    Has anyone heard of someone actually going into long-term remission? It would be nice to have some hope.

    As far as seratonin is concerned, my understanding is that it is the chemical, if you like, that makes us happy. It's production is increased by exercising, laughing(!), and sunlight, oh and sex. Correct me if I am wrong folks.

    Well, you'll have had enough of me droning on. So I'll say cheerio.

    Hugs to all, Belinda.

  10. catgal

    catgal New Member

    As a therapist, I see quite a few people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. I live in Montana right in the midst of the Great & Beautiful Rocky Mountains, and in Winter it is a most incredible place to be. However, living in the mountains in Wintertime makes for very moody and radical weather.

    We can go weeks without seeing sunshine, and the skies are a dark, gray overcast with heavy, shadowy clouds, powerful howling winds, and frosty cold temperatures accompanied with snow & sleet. It is pitch black in the mornings till around 8 and gets dark around 4 in the afternoon.

    As little can be done to control the "outdoor" weather, I have found in working with my clients that an uplifting change of the "indoor" home environment is more productive than antidepressants.

    First, I prescribe 10mgs of Enada every morning on an empty stomach which is a vitamin you can get here on this site. Many people find it extremely beneficial for depression, chronic fatigue, chasing away brain fog, and offers a wonderful boost of energy. And I encourage them to create a comfortable, peaceful Light-Box Area in which they can lay down and read, listen to music, meditate, or just BE.

    However, I have found this next part in the prescription for SAD the most beneficial overall. It is changing the "environment" of your home. First, add more lamps and mood lighting all through the house and keep the lights on. Also placing wall mirrors to reflect the light enhances the glow. Next, cover your sofa, soft chairs, and other furniture with brightly colored material, quilts, or blankets with different textures and designs. Hang "happy colored" material down the middle of various walls. Use bright, happy, colorful materials on top of coffee tables, end tables, and any other areas to bring a splash of color and life to otherwise dull places in your home. Buy fresh or pretty artificial flowers and put them on the table with a colorful placemat underneath. Change your curtains to a sheer, flowing, sunny color if you can afford it. Buy lemon, citrus, or flowerly scented candles, and put one in every room. When you're in that room, light the candle for some nice, springtime aromatherapy. If you have throw pillows on your couches or chairs--cover them with some beautiful pillow cases, tuck, & pin. Do the same in your bedroom. Use soft, light colored linens, blankets, comforters. Sprinkle your sheets with baby powder or some delicate, light scent. Put some essential lavender oil on your wrists at bedtime so that when your turn over during the night~~you get a fresh, soothing whiff.

    The trick is to fill your home environment with various types of additional lighting; use color, color, color everywhere to brighten up the atmosphere; and fresh aromatherapy scents. Be creative and let the wild woman out. One Winter the inside of my home looked like a Mexican Fiesta Holiday. Experiment with it.

    It may be dull, gray, bleak, and sunless outside~~but you can create a bright, colorful, festive home on the inside that uplifts your Spirits and puts Sunshine in your Soul. It doesn't really cost alot of money....and is alot more fun and less expensive than meds and doctors!

    Happy Decorating! Carol....
  11. catgal

    catgal New Member

    so here's a BUMP!