Psych Central

Archive for September, 2012

Surviving S.A.D (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

Friday, September 28th, 2012

It’s fall here in the United States. For much of the country, this means darker skies, shorter days, and colder temperatures. For many people, the change in season can also mean an increase in depressive symptoms.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (aka SAD)?

SAD is a type of depression that occurs during a change in season, usually fall and winter. People who suffer from SAD have many of the same symptoms as those with depression: lack of energy, feelings of hopelessness, withdrawing from friends and family, weight gain, and not enjoying things that one used to enjoy.

How many people experience SAD?

Many people experience seasonal affective disorder. According to Dr. Norman Rosenthal,  6 percent of the people in the United States suffer from SAD 1. This does not include the number of people who experience a less severe form of seasonal depression – the winter blues. SAD is more common in the northern areas of the United States, and less common in areas of the south where there is more sunshine.

How is SAD treated?

There are several treatments for SAD. Like major depressive disorder, SAD can be treated with psychotherapy and medication. But SAD also responds very well to light therapy. Light therapy uses a full spectrum, intense light to help decrease depressive symptoms.

What is the difference between SAD and clinical depression?

People who experience SAD have the same symptoms as people with major depressive disorder. However, major depressive disorder is not limited to the darker days of fall and winter.

Tips for surviving SAD

  1. Watch what you eat. You may feel like loading up on carbohydrates, alcohol, and processed foods, but try and avoid this. Poor diet can contribute to mood swings and lack of energy. Fish has lots of good omega-3 fatty acids. Vitamin D, which people naturally get through sunlight, can be lacking in the winter, and is a good supplement to take.
  2. Make sure you get enough exercise, preferably outside. Exercise naturally improves mood and helps with sleep.
  3. Consider investing in a light box. You can pick them up without a prescription, and many people have found them useful …

The Amazing Connection Between Happiness and Kindness

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

The search for happiness is universal. People from everywhere and in all circumstance seek this illusive thing called happiness.

Can you remember the last time you were happy?

Was it hours ago?

Days?

Weeks?

Years?

What was happening in your life at the time? What made you happy?

Happiness is a goal for many people. But there are different ideas floating around about what exactly makes people happy.


Sometimes it’s the Little Things that Hurt the Most

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Have you ever had a moment when things are going relatively smoothly, then something small happens and your whole world is turned upside down?

Often we think that big problems come from big incidents: your spouse divorces you and you become depressed, your house burns down and you have nightmares for weeks, you fight in a war and have PTSD.

But trauma doesn’t fit so neatly into a box.

Some people experience severe trauma with very few lasting side-effects; others go through what many would consider a minor trauma and it has a significant, life-changing impact. So what’s going on?


4 Tips for Dealing With Procrastination

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Procrastination. In Latin, it translates as “in favor of tomorrow.”

Benjamin Franklin famously said, “Never put off till tomorrow that which you can do today”. Procrastination is something everyone deals with.

So why do people procrastinate?

Some people procrastinate because of the intense adrenaline rush that comes from the stress of being pressed for time. It’s not unheard of for individuals to say that they do their best work when they are moments away from a deadline.

Others procrastinate because the task they face is unpleasant. A person’s better judgement might say that the 25 page paper should be started immediately. But then along comes other activities that are much more fun. Why clean the toilet when Dancing with the Stars is on? The temptation to avoid an unappealing task can be great.

There are people who procrastinate when they are afraid of an outcome. Children often do this when they get into trouble. They’re afraid of their parents’ reaction, and so hold off confessing as long as they can. Spouses have been known not to tell l their partners that they lost their job. Couples who are divorced or separated may hide this fact from their friends and family, waiting until ‘the right time’ to tell. This usually backfires, as you can imagine.

While some people feel like their procrastination is a part of who they are and they don’t wish to change this behavior, many others want to stop procrastinating. Here are some ideas to handle procrastination.


Making the Most of Your Therapy

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

Psychotherapy can be a beneficial part of many people’s lives.

Working with a therapist can promote growth and healing, as well as decrease symptoms such as anxiety and depression.

Therapy is also an investment. People spend money, time and energy hoping to make themselves and their relationships healthier and happier.

Each person comes in to therapy with different hopes and expectations, as well as different problems and concerns. Just as every person and therapist is unique, every therapy experience is one of a kind.

Although there is no way to guarantee the exact road that your therapy will take,  there are some things that you can do to make the most of your therapy.


 

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