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Seasonal Depression in Pittsburgh

About 3 million people in the United States suffer from seasonal affective disorder. Seasonal affective disorder or seasonal depression occurs during the same season every year. You might have feel feeling depressed the past two winters, but cheered up during the warmer months. Or you may have felt down during the summer.

Everyone could get seasonal depression, but it tends to be much more common in :

  • People who have families who have SAD
  • Women
  • Individuals between 15 and 55 years old
  • Individuals who live in an areas where winter daylight time is very short

 

No mental health experts are exactly sure of what specifically causes SAD, but many think lack of sunlight is a big trigger. This lack of light could mess up your circadian rhythms or cause problems with serotonin which is the chemical that affects your mood.

The lack of sunlight in Pittsburgh is extreme compared to many other cities across the US. We also tend to be cloudy which blocks out a lot of sunlight. That combined with the recent freezing temperatures has kept a lot of people inside and not taking absorbing vitamin D from the sun. Actually, about 10% of adults living in the United States have a Vitamin D deficiency.

You might be wondering if you have seasonal depression or SAD. Here are the symptoms:

  • Feeling grumpy, sad , nervous of having mood swings
  • Anhedonia or lack of pleasure in things you normally love
  • Eating much more or less than usual
  • Gaining weight
  • Sleeping a lot more than you normally do, but still feeling slugging
  • Difficulty concentrating

It is so important to look at SAD in a holistic manner before getting diagnosed. In addition to therapy, it’s crucial to see your doctor so she or he can run blood tests to rule out any other conditions that may be making you feel blue. One of these common ones is hypothyroidism or low thyroid. At Makin Wellness, we could do the mental heath assessment .

Treatment

There are multiple ways to help treat seasonal depression. Light therapy can be used, but counseling is one of the most effective ways of treating SAD. Cognitive behavioral therapy at Makin Wellness can help you learn more about seasonal depression , how to manage your symptoms and ways to prevent future episodes. Medication can also be prescribed and taken to help alleviate some or your symptoms. Antidepressants such as Zoloft, Effexor and Wellbutrin are most commonly prescribed for SAD.  Vitamin D supplements or foods rich in Vitamin D like yogurt, salmon, shitake mushrooms and freshly squeezed OJ can help combat any potential Vitamin D deficiencies you could have. Be sure to talk with your doctor and therapist about any side effects from your medication and check with your MD about Vit D supplementation .

If you are struggling with seasonal depression, call us today at 412-532-1249 to schedule your free phone consultation.

 

Sara Makin,M.S.Ed.,NCC

Sara Makin,M.S.Ed.,NCC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is therapy and coaching center located at 239 Fourth Avenue, Suite 1801 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction and relationship counseling .

 

 

 

 

 



5 Celebrities Who Overcame Their Depression

Exotic cars, adoring fans, traveling and being known everywhere you go… although this to many sounds like the dream, it does  not always means that the person living this type of lifestyle is happy. Studies actually show that having notoriety or fame could actually increase your chance of mental illness. Below we have some stories of celebrities that were able to overcome their depression .


 

Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus at the 2009 Academy Awards 04

The former Disney Star turned pop icon has been on the cover of many magazines and released music that landed her at the tops of the charts. She  has shared that despite all of her success there were times when her depression would paralyze her. She revealed in an interview with Elle that she has been struggling with self esteem problems and was seeking therapy to help her with depression. She later shared that every one can benefit from therapy and that she was not opposed to having medication to  help with treatment.

Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey 2010

Jim Carrey has been very open about his struggles with depression and addiction.  Jim told CBS in 2004 that he was on Prozac “for a long time”. His spirituality and appreciation helped him get out of the “low level of despair”. He shared that he was able to get off of his medication and that he does not drink alcohol or do drugs since “life is too beautiful”.

Halle Berry

Halle Berry - USS Kearsarge b

Halle shared with Parade magazine that when her and her ex husband David Justice got separated , she fell into a deep depression and contemplated suicide. She struggled with low self esteem and depression when the marriage ended. “My sense of worth was so low. I had to reprogram myself to see the good in me. Because someone didn’t love me didn’t mean I was unlovable.” She then later went to say that she has been in therapy for 30 years


Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga and her disco stick - The MONSTER BALL 2010

Gaga shared with Teen Vogue “I openly admit to having battled depression and anxiety and I think a lot of people do”.She has been extremely open with her experiences of mental illness and being a survivor of sexual assault.  She shared how there is no shame in seeking help and that there is no need to hide our issues.  She stated that depression medication is part of her self care routine and that “it isn’t for everyone”. What has helped her is a combination of treatment and taking some time for herself.

Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne Johnson 2013

Dwayne Johnson was interviewed by Oprah in 2015 regarding how his depression helped lead him to have amazing things happen in his career. He was 23 years old when he was not selected for the NFL,  cut by the Canadian football League and sent to go back to the US. “I found that with depression one of the most important things you could realize is that you’re not alone. You’re not the first to go through it,” he says. “I wish I had someone at that time who could just pull me aside and [say], ‘Hey, it’s going to be okay.'” This moment inspired him to become a professional wrestler insead and helped launch a new chapter in his life.

 

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World Mental Health Awareness

Happy World Mental Health Awareness Day! This day was created by the World Health Organization to help raise awareness regarding mental health internationally . This is the third year and every year comes with a new theme. 2018’s theme is mental health and older adults.

According to WHO, today is a day for clinicians who practice in this field to talk about their work and what needs to be done in order to make mental health care accessible for people around the world.

One of the biggest barriers I hear about for mental health treatment is the stigma and reducing the negative connotation around seeking help. Things, however, are starting to change.  Our popular media outlets are sharing more content around therapy that really normalizes the process. There is even a new series called “Shrink” that interviews celebrities about their healing that occurred in session.

“It’s changed my life. I have a therapist that I owe so much of the best of me to,” Sarah Silverman shared in her inerview, noting since shes’ been invovled in therapy sporadically since childhood. “It can give you so much if you’re open to it … This has worked for me.”

If we have a broken bone, we can go to the doctor and seek treatment. If we have a broken heart , we can go to a therapist and seek treatment as well. There is no need for stigma regarding therapy anymore. Leave your comments below, share and like this article to support this fantastic cause!


 

Delilah & The Reality of Teen Depression

As I was checking my Facebook this morning, I came across the disheartening news that Delilah’s son Zachariah  passed away as a result of suicide. He was on the autism spectrum and had been struggling with depression for years. Although he was involved in therapy and had lots of love from his large family, it unfortunately was not enough to alleviate his sadness within his heart.

Delilah and her family are not alone in this matter; the reality of the matter is that teen depression is extremely common and can put severe strains on the family.  Seeking help is imperative and being consistent with treatment can reduce stress on everyone as well. When a teenager is depressed, it not only affects them individually but everyone he or she is involved with (imagine the ripple effect).  Family counseling can also be beneficial for the healing of the child’s caretakers and siblings. Having a safe space to share and process this can help people move forward and can help the family as a whole.

Psychoeducation plays a role in this too. Learning about teen depression and what signs to look for is important. If you are able to identify early warning signs or symptoms and seek treatment sooner, you are more likely to see change occur. Think of momentum ; it is much easier to stop a car when it is going 3 MPH rather than one that speeding at 100 MPH.

Teenage depression has been on the rise  in the United States for a while now, so it is important that we have earlier interventions to start reducing this and our teen suicide rate.

 

 

 

 

“From Depression to Joy”

Our first book, “From Depression to Joy: A Parent’s Handbook for Teenage Wellness” officially launched today! For a limited time only, we are going to give this away for $0.99! Get it here and let us know how this handbook helped you and your family.

Do This To Alleviate Stress Fast

Can it REALLY be that simple? You mean to tell me that petting my dog or cat can reduce my blood pressure and relax me?  Yes it absolutely can ! Pets are great stress reducers! It is absolutely astounding what can happen to someone’s mood just from petting their furry friend. Petting and cuddling with cats and dogs tend to have a substantially stronger relaxing effect compared to smaller pets such as lizards and hamsters; however, smaller pets calm your nerves too! Next time you feel stressed , sit down with your four legged buddy and take 15 mindful minutes of petting him or her.  You and “fluffy” will both enjoy it! Notice how you feel afterwards. Try it out next time you catch yourself worrying about your job or missing the Game of Thrones and share your experience below or during your session with your counselor.