What to do when it's not just the winter blahs
(NC) Canadians are all too familiar with the 'winter blahs'. Snow, slush, shivery weather and a lack of sunshine surely don't make getting out of bed any easier in the morning. But while it may be just the winter blahs for some, for those living with depression, the shorter days and colder weather may bring on a major depressive episode.
The good news is there are ways to help manage depression and persevere throughout the winter months:
Understand depression: A depressive disorder is more than the existence of emotional symptoms, or feeling sad. Thought to be caused by an imbalance of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, including norepinephrine and serotonin, sufferers can experience negative physical impacts as well. From aches and pains, to lack of energy, depression can interfere with regular day-to-day activities like working, sleeping, studying, eating, and even socializing.
Recognize the signs: While depression affects three million Canadians each year, its impact on each individual is different. The frequency, severity and duration of symptoms can vary from person to person, and may include: fatigue, anxiety, irritability, aches and pains, and inability to concentrate or take pleasure in day-to-day activities.
Have a plan: To help manage depression, it's important to partner with a healthcare provider to develop an effective treatment plan. Treatment options may include talk therapy, lifestyle strategies – like exercise and acupuncture – and prescription medication. When starting a new medication, speaking with a doctor is key to understanding what it is, how it works and how long it may take to feel better, as well as its potential side effects.
Take it day-by-day: Don't give up. It's not uncommon to try different therapies, or a combination of treatments, before discovering an effective treatment regimen. Patience will help you persevere.
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