Saturday, January 31, 2009

Mental Health-Lancaster County Woman Talks about Seasonal Affective Disorder

Ephrata Review Correspondent, Wendy Komancheck, sat down with Heather Muha of WITF to talk about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The show is scheduled to run on Friday, February 6, 2008 at 8:30 p.m.

Komancheck has been suffering with the affects of SAD for most of her life. She uses a Go Lite P2 that emits blue light which converts the light to stimulate the brain to uplift her mood and energy level. Although, nothing can compare to a Lancaster county summer day, the Blue Light gives Komancheck enough light to stimulate her brain to produce more serotonin to get through the winter.

Komancheck also discussed other techniques that she finds helpful in managing the lethargy and depression that she experiences during the winter. Some of these techniques include daily walks, yoga, cognitive therapy, and connection to her church. Komancheck does use medication and Vitamin D3 to help manage her anxiety and depression symptoms too.

Muha asked Komancheck some of the thoughts and feelings that she experiences with SAD. Komancheck says, “I feel anxious and despairing. My symptoms can begin as early as August or as late as the beginning of November when we switch our clocks back an hour. But I feel better once the warm weather in spring returns.”

Komancheck also states that in summer time she feels her best because of the longer days, warmer weather, and brighter sunshine. “I enjoy going to my son’s Little League games and working in my garden,” she says of some of the activities that elevate her mood in the spring and summer.
The National Institute on Mental Health ( ) says, “Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is characterized by a depressive illness during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. The depression generally lifts during spring and summer. SAD may be effectively treated with light therapy, but nearly half of those with SAD do not respond to light therapy alone. Antidepressant medication and psychotherapy also can reduce SAD symptoms, either alone or in combination with light therapy.”
A prolific freelance writer for an assortment of business and trade magazines, Komancheck has covered the mining industry in Alaska to worldwide Fair Trade organic teas and the Kona Coffee Festival in Hawaii. Also, she’s written for the Ephrata Review, Lancaster Newspapers, and Pa. regional magazines for the past seven years. In addition to her Ephrata Review articles, her writing credits have appeared in business, trade and regional magazines. Komancheck’s writing focus includes agriculture, business, local politics, and Pa. German culture.

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