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Fighting the Dark Days

by Christine Surrey, DO, CFMP

It is the beginning of autumn. The air is getting crisp, leaves are turning bright hues, and the days are getting shorter. Very soon, we will be turning the clock back an hour, and many of us will be leaving our jobs in the cold darkness.

This is the time of year that many of us go into a "slump" and blame it on Seasonal Affective Disorder. We have the symptoms that we see on TV, such as weight gain, poor energy, irritability, and difficulty getting started in the day. Many times, people self-treat with photo therapy to try to feel better. Sometimes this is helpful, but oftentimes it is not. That's because other problems in the body can cause the same symptoms, and we often need a physician involved to help us to sort it out.

One common disorder that can cause the same symptoms is Adrenal Fatigue. The adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys. They secrete hormones when we are frightened and turn on the "fight or flight" response of our body. This is a protective mechanism. As the adrenal glands secrete cortisol, our heart rate and breathing speeds up, our sensitivity to pain decreases, and we are in "action mode." The problem is that many of us are under constant stress for long periods of time. This causes the body to secrete cortisol for sustained periods. Our bodies can only do this for so long, and then the adrenal glands begin to burn out, causing symptoms like those above.

Similarly, a low serotonin level can also cause these symptoms. Often times, physicians presume that a person has a low serotonin level because of the symptoms that they are having. These people may be diagnosed with depression and treated with anti-depressive medication.

It can get confusing because the same symptoms of food cravings, weight gain, fatigue, and irritability can have many root causes. The only way to truly become well is to find out the underlying factor causing these issues. Luckily, this is easily done with simple, testing prescribed by a physician. At Tao Integrative Medicine (856-802-6888), we test Adrenal gland function by collecting samples of saliva throughout the day and measuring the cortisol levels and test Neurotransmitter levels with a single collection of urine. These samples are collected at home on a day that is right for you. There is no need to miss work to try to get to a lab. After the specimens are collected, they can be dropped off in the mail in a pre-paid for box. No blood, no inconvenience, and no mess... just answers!

It is a dark and cold time of the year. Find out the true cause of what is bringing you down is to achieve true wellness. These dark days should be as bright and happy as the sunny days.

Until next time, be well!

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Tao Integrative Medicine Marlton
999 Rt.73 North, Suite 200 08053 Marlton NJ
Acupuncture
Mental Health Care
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Tao Integrative Medicine Bryn Mawr
14 S. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 101 19010 Bryn Mawr PA
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