Seasonal Depression and “Blahs”

Seasonal changes in mood and energy are a fact of life for many Canadians, especially many women.

The effects can start as early as later August. More commonly, people note they are into the symptoms by mid-fall.

A problem is that the symptoms develop slowly and can “sneak up” on you. The symptoms commonly include lack of energy, possibly also difficulty problem solving and difficulty initiating change, and sometimes clinical depression. So, by the time people come to realize that their energy and mood have shifted lower, often they have been living with the symptoms for some time. The very symptoms that are bothering them tend to make it more difficult for them to apply the problem-solving and initiative to seek and start treatment. Even if a person understands the situation well because of being through it in previous years, their treatment light may sit unused in the closet, as they sit unable to apply the intent and energy to get the light out and switch it on.

Because of this, it is a good idea to think of the Labour Day weekend as a time to get  your treatment light out and put it in place to be ready to use it. That, or use that weekend as a reminder that by this time of year you should be looking to discuss your symptoms and concerns with your doctor, if you feel that seasonal changes in mood, energy or related symptoms may be an issue for you.

(1)  A brief video, from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, in Canada, posted in December, 2012. (3 minutes)

“Understanding Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)”

“Dr. Robert Levitan, CAMH Senior Scientist and Research Head, Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, explains the prevalence of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) among Canadians and offers tips on the best ways to treat symptoms from depression to the winter blues.”


(2)  This longer video takes a bit of patience to get through, as it is a bit rambling. However, the information is very useful.

“Seasonal Affective Disorder: More Than Just the Winter Blues”

Presented by Dr. Kuhn of Holland Hospital, posted on January 22, 2014

“Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that most often occurs during the shorter days of winter when our exposure to sunlight is reduced. Symptoms build up slowly and can include feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, weight gain, loss of energy, increased sleep and inability to concentrate.

Mental health expert Thomas Kuhn, M.D., from Holland Hospital Behavioral Health Services talks about how to recognize and manage Seasonal Affective Disorder in yourself or family members. Dr. Kuhn also discusses use of medications, diet, exercise, counseling and light therapy to treat SAD.”

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