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Identifying and Treating Seasonal Depression

SEASONSFall time is upon us!  There are so many things that make fall a great time of year.  The food, the smells, and the holidays are all things to look forward to.  However fall also marks a difficult time for many people.  Our days become shorter, which mean we do not have as many daylight hours.  For some this transition only marks the beginning of a season change, while for others it marks a significant change in their mood.
Seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD, is a common problem that numerous people struggle with.  Many people have symptom onset in the spring time, however the majority of people notice their symptoms start in the fall and continue through the winter months.  Researchers speculate that the lack of sunlight during these months cause a change in important chemicals like melatonin and serotonin that affect our mood, appetite, and sleep.  As a result we become more likely to exhibit depression like symptoms during months where we do not receive enough sunlight to regulate these chemicals.
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Beat the Winter Blues: Tips for Dealing with Seasonal Depression

The winter months can bring excitement and joy as we celebrate the holidays, decorate the tree, and spend time with our loves ones. However, it can be quite a different experience for people with Seasonal Affective Disorder (also known as SAD). For these individuals, winter can be a time of gloom, despair, and hopelessness.

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3 Things You Never Say to Someone with Seasonal Depression: UtahValley360.com Interview

UtahValley360.com interviewed Julie Hanks about Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. As indicated by its name, this disorder affects individuals seasonally at the same time each year. For some it can happen in warmer months but typically this disorder occurs in colder months where we experience less sunlight.Wasatch Family Therapy Depression

Julie suggested that these three things should never be said to someone affected by SAD..

1.You don’t look depressed. 2. Happiness is a choice. 3. I know just how you feel.

Read the entire article to learn more and find out what solutions can be offered for someone suffering from seasonal affective disorder.

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7 Ways To Beat Seasonal Depression

7 Ways To Beat Seasonal Depression

Does your mood take a nose dive during the winter months? In this new post for ShareCare I give a few ideas for beating seasonal depression. Here’s a preview…

“During the winter months, about 15% of Americans suffer from a mood disorder known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD symptoms are similar to those of depression—feelings of sadness, low energy, sleep problems, irritability, unexplained weight loss or weight gain, anxiety, social isolation and, in severe cases, suicidal thoughts. The difference between general depression and SAD is that sufferers generally gain weight and only experience depression symptoms during a specific and recurring time of the year.

Seasonal depression impacts significantly more women than men. Among people with SAD, 60 to 90% are women, and females between the ages of 15 and 55 are at highest risk.

In my clinical experience, most people with this problem wait too long before seeking help. If you have many of the symptoms above, or if you think you might have SAD, I encourage you to get a medical or mental health evaluation. If you are suffering from SAD there are treatments that can help you feel better.”

Read my 7 tips for tackling SAD on Sharecare

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Don’t Let Seasonal Depression Get You Down: KSL TV News

Wasatch Family Therapy DepressionIs it post-holiday blues or seasonal depression? Winter months bring shorter days and less sunshine. I sat down with KSL TV morning news to bring to light some of the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and how to treat it.

If you’re struggling with depression, we can help you to feel better! Click here to get to know our therapists.

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Julie Hanks ranked #1 Among the Top 10 Online Influencers for Depression: Sharecare

Julie Hanks, LCSW was recently named Number 1 of the Top 10 Online Influencers for Depression. SharecareNow a site created by Jeff Arnold and Dr. Mehmet Oz in partnership with Harpo Studios, HSW International, Sony Pictures Television and Discovery Communications, is highlighting the positive impact that  people are having for individuals suffering from depression during Seasonal Depression Awareness Month (December). According to SharecareNow, Julie is the most prominent online influence affecting the lives of millions who are suffering from depression.

Here’s how top influencers are ranked…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Give Yourself the Gift of Gratitude

“What are the benefits of feeling and expressing gratitude?” It turns out grateful people have an edge over the not-so-grateful when it comes to physical and mental health, according to several recent psychological studies.  They tend to exercise more regularly, eat healthier diets, and get a boost to their immune system.  In addition, feelings of thankfulness have a tremendous positive value in helping people deal with increased stress and anxiety which are associated with the holidays.  Gratitude can also serve as a buffer against symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) such as sadness and depression which tend to build up slowly in late autumn and into the winter months.

Wasatch Family Therapy

What better time to reflect of gratitude than during the fast approaching holiday season.  Amid the hustle and bustle of holiday preparations, mindfully take a few minutes to slow down, breathe deep, and reflect upon the many blessings in your life.  You can start today to grow your feelings of gratitude.  Here’s how:

  • Keep a Gratitude Journal.The simple act of writing down a few things on a daily or weekly basis for which you are grateful is a great way to feel better about your life as a whole and to feel more optimistic about the future.
  •  Count Your Blessings.  This list may include family, friends, freedom, spiritual convictions, hobbies, talents, and material comforts.  After writing everything that comes to mind, ask yourself, “To what extent do I take these for granted?”  Tuck this list away and pull it out whenever you’re feeling down in the dumps.  This is an excellent reminder of the good things in your life.
  •   Try a Positive Reframe.   When faced with a challenging situation, see how it could ultimately be beneficial.  For example, if you are having a particularly hard time getting along with a neighbor or coworker, rather than complaining that the person is “trying” your patience look at it as an opportunity to “improve” your patience.
  •  Graciously Accept Gratitude from Other People.  Society has taught us to dismiss the gratitude directed towards us as unnecessary.  Saying things such as, “No problem; it was nothing,” or “No thanks is necessary,” robs others of the benefits of showing gratitude.  A simple, “You’re welcome,” lets people know you appreciate being thanked.

As you incorporate these few ideas into your life, I hope you will find – as I have – that life will become richer and more satisfying this holiday season by expressing gratitude to loved ones and by giving thanks for all that blesses your life.  Happy Holidays!

 

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Summer Depression: Fox 13 News

Holly Willard, LCSW featured on Fox 13’s Sunday News discusses Summertime Depression.

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Battling Summer Depression: KSL TV News

Holly Willard, LCSW on KSL TV News discusses Summertime Depression and how to cope.

Read more at KSL.com

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Mood boosters to beat the winter “blahs”

Listen to Julie Hanks, LCSW‘s tips to beat the winter blues and survive the cold, dark months with a little more pep in your step.

Listen to episode (007) “Mood Boosters to Beat the Winter Blahs

You and Yours Show with Julie Hanks, LCSW

The Women’s Information Network

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