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4 ways to ease seasonal depression and enjoy the holidays [Sponsored]

Sponsored by CareSouth

When the trees outside are barren and the plants and flowers are dying, it can be difficult to feel like yourself and keep a positive attitude. If you were sick with the flu and your home treatments weren’t working, you’d probably go see a doctor, right? Well, the same applies to depression (or any other mental health condition for that matter).

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or seasonal depression is a very real problem. SAD is thought to be from changes in brain chemicals triggered by less light and more darkness, an issue that affects roughly two in 10 people. While it affects people differently, some of the more common symptoms are: losing interest in activities you normally enjoy, low energy, no motivation, sleeping too much or too little, changes in appetite, feeling agitated or moody, difficulty concentrating, a lingering feeling of hopelessness, and in the worst cases, thoughts of death or suicide.

CareSouth is a private, nonprofit Health Center that provides a comprehensive range of medical, dental and behavioral health services to the Capital Region. With comprehensive mental health services for children ages 5 to adults, its dedicated team of Behavioral Health professionals help patients through safe and effective evidence-based treatment, interventions and practices. CareSouth also offers screening, intervention and treatment referrals for adults who are at risk of substance use disorders. Patients can access services in person at a CareSouth clinic or via Telehealth sessions.


Tips to ease seasonal depression

 

1. Know what to look for.

Learning to spot the signs of common conditions like anxiety and depression can help identify problems and appropriate treatment before the situation worsens. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the symptoms below, click here or call 225.650.2000 to schedule an appointment with a social worker.

Anxiety: Difficulty sitting still, easily irritated, difficulty concentrating or focusing, excessive worry with an inability to control it, difficulty relaxing, feelings of dread.

Depression: Changes in appetite or sleep patterns, decreased interest or pleasure in things formerly enjoyed, difficulty concentrating, decreased motivation, energy or interest in activities, crying spells, feelings of helplessness, worthlessness or hopelessness, suicidal or homicidal thoughts.


2. Get more light.

Getting your body up and moving can work wonders on your mood. When you’re experiencing depression, it can be extremely difficult to make it to the gym, or even get out of bed. If your usual form of exercise includes walking or running outdoors, then the cold months of winter may keep you from exercising at all. Try something different—yoga, a dance party, barre workouts, or bodyweight exercises like push-ups, squats, lunges, etc.


3. Adjust your diet.

We’re talking omega-3 fatty acids and other mood-boosting foods. Some diet choices may have subtle effects on depression and mood. Focus on choosing natural—not processed—foods like vegetables, beans, whole grains, unsaturated oils, nuts, and fish, as well as minimally processed versions like nut butters, canned beans, and frozen unsweetened berries. DHA and EPA are two omega-3 fatty acids found almost exclusively in fish, and recent research suggests that increasing your intake of those two fatty acids can improve symptoms associated with depression. Not enough is known yet to use them to treat depression exclusively, but the positive effects that EPA and DHA may have on brain health and mood is enough reason to include fish in your diet once or twice a week.


4. Find support when you need it.

A counselor can help reframe negative thought patterns and teach useful coping methods when the depression gets really bad. They also serve as an outlet to vent to about anything and everything that’s on your mind with no judgment. Best of all, they adjust the therapy method based on what does and doesn’t work for you.


Some of the common conditions treated at CareSouth are: depression, anxiety, unstable mood (i.e. bipolar disorder), psychosis (i.e. schizophrenia), anger management, grief counseling, suicidal or homicidal thoughts, nicotine dependence, alcohol or drug use, trauma-related problems (i.e. PTSD), and challenging behaviors in children (.i.e. ADHD, ODD). CareSouth’s experienced team provides a broad range of behavioral health, medical, and dental services at its main location in Baton Rouge. Services are also accessible at satellite clinics in Donaldsonville, Plaquemine, and Zachary.

If you know someone who struggles with SAD, do your best to be supportive, and if they need treatment for mental health or substance use issues, please click here or call 225.650.2000 to schedule an appointment with a social worker.

 

 

 


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