Web Talk

Beating the Winter Blues -- Battling Depression

by Laura Emery, Field Editor

 


Erica Cashion photo. 

Depression makes it difficult to function and enjoy life. Just getting through the day can be overwhelming and dealing with daily challenges can be nearly impossible.

Chances are that you probably know someone struggling with depression. For some, it is debilitating and can disrupt every aspect of life. For others, it may come and go, but be especially present during the winter months (called seasonal affective disorder).

The normal ups and downs of life mean that everyone is bound to feel periods of sadness or experience “the blues” from time to time. But if emptiness and sadness and hopelessness won’t go away, you may have depression.

No matter how hopeless you feel, there are ways to feel better. Understanding the signs, symptoms, causes and treatment of depression is the first step to overcoming the problem. Here are some great websites to help you or your loved one do just that.

 www.depressionconnection.org

The Depression Connection for Recovery is a place where change and recovery are possible. Opportunities are presented for individuals to improve their health and wellness, live a more joyful life, and strive to reach their full potential. The website reads, “Our help begins in providing the skills and tools needed to reconnect or regain the fullness, sense and purpose in living that depression has taken away.”

 www.webmd.com/depression

WebMD is a great resource for seeking to understand depression and how to deal with it. The site currently features topics ranging from information on common depression traps to avoid, different types of depression, and therapies that are most effective for battling depression.

 Winter Blues

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that occurs at the same time each year, usually in winter when days are shorter and the weather is colder. The reduced light, warmth and color of winter can leave people feeling melancholy, irritable or unusually tired. Otherwise known as seasonal depression, SAD can affect mood, sleep, appetite and energy levels. It’s not something to take lightly, as it can affect  one’s relationships and social life, work, school and sense of self-worth. People suffering from SAD may exhibit signs of feeling hopeless, sad, tense or stressed, with no interest in friends or activities they normally enjoy. While a less common form of the disorder causes depression during the summer months, SAD usually begins in fall or winter when the days become shorter and sticks around until the brighter days of spring or early summer.

While it is more prevalent in women and young children, SAD affects about 10 to 20 percent of people. Like other forms of depression, SAD is treatable. The more you understand about seasonal depression, the better equipped you’ll be to manage or even prevent the condition.

Here are some helpful websites to gain a better understanding of SAD and how to treat and manage it.

www.helpguide.org/home-pages/ depression.htm

This website is loaded with information not only on the seasonal form of depression, but also depression in general. It covers the depression in different groups of people (women, children, men, older adults, teens, etc.), how to help someone you know who may be suffering from depression, tips for how to get more joy out of life, signs and symptoms of depression. It even covers postpartum depression and “baby blues.” This is a great resource for someone suffering from depression, or for loved ones seeking to understand and/or help someone going through depression.

More helpful websites to check out: www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/sad and psychcentral.com /blog/archives/2012/12/30/10-winter-depression-busters-for-seasonal-affective-disorder/.

 

 

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