Winter’s Over, But The Sadness Stayed. What Should You Do?

Winter can be a dreary time, both inside and outside. It is estimated that around 18% of Canadians in their lifetimes will experience some form of the seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a kind of depression that generally appears during the winter months when days are short and dark. It can be a difficult disorder to live with, and if you think you might have it you should look into counseling, light therapy, and medication, all of which can be beneficial.

But what happens when the weather gets better, the sun comes out and the light lasts well into the evening, but you still feel this way? If you’re sleeping excessively, or not sleeping much at all; if you’re eating excessively, or not eating much at all; if you have trouble concentrating and find yourself irritated by small things; if you suffer feelings of sadness, worthlessness or morbidity, you might have depression. And if you think you might have depression, you should know two things right away: it’s a big deal, but it’s not uncommon.

With around 5% of Canada’s population reporting symptoms that meet the criteria for depression, you’re certainly not alone. But knowing how common depression is can be of little solace. It doesn’t change the fact that this mood disorder can be painful to live with. Luckily, there are people out there able to help, such as doctors, psychiatrists, and psychologists, the latter of which can help you help you treat your depression through CBT – cognitive behavioral therapy.

CBT is a form of talk therapy that helps you develop coping strategies for the cycles of negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors you might have, and it has been shown to work for some people as well or better than medication in the treatment of depression. Through one-on-one sessions with a psychologist, you work on assessing flaws in your thought process and how those correspond to negative feelings and behaviors. If you’re looking for a new psychologist to help with what you suspect is depression, ask them about CBT and together you can see if it’s the right fit for you.

CBT and counseling can be incredibly effective in treating depression, but if your depression is diagnosed as more severe, you may be doing what is called “combination therapy”, which is often when a combination of CBT and antidepressants is used. Antidepressants certainly have their pros and cons, with many in the medical and psychological communities skeptical of their overall effectiveness, especially in relation to their risks. However, they might be an avenue worth exploring– after all, what doesn’t work for some may work for others.

If you are experiencing symptoms of depression outside of the conventional timeframe for SAD, it is worthwhile speaking to a professional doctor or psychologist here in Ajax about depression. Although depression can be a difficult disorder to live with, there are treatments out there such as CBT and combination therapy that can help you feel better.

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