Marilyn Lachman, M.D. Interview
by Chinyere Communications

The above photo is from the official Beastmaster site and is 2001, Tribune Entertainment Co. All rights reserved.

Trivia: Doc says she'd be happy to be reincarnated as such a beauty!
Marilyn ("Doc") Lachman is a psychiatrist at University of Alabama hospital, Birmingham. She is frequently invited to appear on national television networks' health news segments. We just took our first opportunity to interview her as the Fall season approaches to learn more about S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and what we can do to avoid depression as the days become less bright and night grows longer.

We caught up with Dr. Lachman at the Chinyere Communications office just before this Labor Day weekend:

CC: What is Seasonal Affective Disorder or the Winter Blues?

ML: It's a condition that affects people as daylight hours shorten and night becomes longer. People are not nocturnal creatures. They are meant to be awake during the day and asleep at night. As a consequence, they function better during the day.

CC: What about people who work the graveyard shift, like airplane pilots? We hear of them just reversing their schedule so that they sleep during the day, sometimes for the duration of their professional life.

ML: Yes. That is true. However, they suffer from such a schedule and spend much more of their waking hours in a relative haze.

CC: Is that why they are paid more?

ML: Yes, among other reasons including the effect on their lifestyle: missed time with family and friends who have a normal schedule, etc.

CC: Well, what about the "relative haze" you mentioned, especially in the case of airplane pilots and, let's say, emergency-room physicians?

ML: It is not an ideal situation but in such instances society has made a decision that the benefit outweighs the risk.

CC: Should professionals placed at such increased risk be liable when they prove to be fatally slow to respond to environmental stimuli?

ML: That is a very difficult question. Can I think about it for a while and answer the next time we sit down for an interview?

CC: Okay. It's about time I ask you what regular people, not those required to work through the night, can do to avoid suffering symptoms of depression in the Fall or Winter.

ML: Here's good news: They can place a halogen lamp in every room, open the windows first thing in the morning until twilight, and picture themselves in a nice, tropical place perhaps with the help of their favorite travel photos or posters. And by all means, they should do the best they can to complete their work during the day, even if that means waking up and shifting their entire schedule by two hours earlier than they're used to. They should be able to adjust within a few days to a week. Then when the Spring approaches they can shift back.

And we look forward to having the Doc back for a follow-up.

Copyright 1999. Chinyere Communications. All world rights reserved.

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