Feeling SAD? There’s a Treatment for That


Orlando, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Up to 20 percent of Americans suffer from something that causes bouts of depression, fatigue, and mood changes that are worse in the gloomy winter weather. However, there are some effective ways to put aside your sadness.

It’s dark … gloomy … and cold outside. If the weather has you feeling down, you might have seasonal affective disorder, or what’s commonly known as “SAD.” But the good news is there are ways to help. The first, light therapy.

John Burns, PhD, Rush University says, “It’s a bright light that would be applied for one hour at normal waking time.”

Studies show it can benefit up to half of people with sad. The bright light mimics natural sunlight and increases serotonin levels in your body.

Burns continues, “Lightboxes are already commercially available because of the research in the seasonal affective disorder and they are cheap.”

You can find a lightbox online for less than 100 dollars. Also, a type of therapy known as cognitive behavioral therapy can help people with sad find relief. It helps patients identify and change their negative thoughts. Another remedy, exercise. A review in the American College of Sports Medicine Journal found that exercise might be comparable to therapy or anti-depressant medicines for depression. And lastly, try taking a vacation to a sunny climate during cold months to boost your mood.

Of course, another option for SAD is using antidepressant medicines. The FDA has approved the medicine, Wellbutrin, for treating people with SAD.

Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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REPORT #2501


BACKGROUND: Depression in the United States affects over 18 million adults, or one in ten, in any given year. It is the leading cause of disability for ages 15-44 and the primary reason why someone dies of suicide about every 13 minutes. This is the equivalent to over 41,000 people per year. Depression is a serious medical condition that is associated with symptoms such as melancholy, loss of pleasure, loss of energy, difficulty in concentrating, and suicidal thoughts. It is both a brain disorder and a state of mind. The brain is unique and is the only organ whose function we consciously experience because the brain is the organ of the mind. The Hope for Depression Research Foundation chooses not to use the term “mental illness” to refer to disorders of the mind and brain because they say the term conjures up negative images in the popular imagination, propagates stigma, and is not scientifically accurate. Therefore, they refer to this area as “mind-brain illness.” Depression represents 99 percent of mind-brain illnesses. Schizophrenia and major psychotic illness represent the remaining 1 percent. The umbrella of depression encompasses major depressive disorder and its related mood disorders including bipolar disorder, postpartum depression, post-traumatic stress syndrome, anxiety disorder and suicide.

(Source: https://www.hopefordepression.org/depression-facts/)

DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT:  Screenings for depression are now often part of a routine visit to your doctor. But if your symptoms get significantly worse or do not improve within four to eight weeks of treatment, ask your health care provider for a referral to a psychiatrist for diagnosis and treatment. To diagnose depression, your health care provider will ask you questions about your symptoms and family history. You may be given medical tests to rule out other conditions that may be causing your symptoms, such as nutrient deficiencies, underactive thyroid or hormone levels, or reactions to drugs (either prescription or recreational) and/or alcohol. The stigma depression carries drives many people to hide it, try to tough it out, or misuse alcohol, drugs, or herbal remedies to get relief. To effectively treat depression, it is important to seek care from a health care provider such as your primary care doctor or a licensed mental health professional. Many treatments for depression are available and typically include a combination of psychotherapy and medication.

Psychotherapy teaches patients how to overcome negative attitudes and feelings and helps them return to normal activities. Drug therapy is intended to treat symptoms that are thought to result from abnormalities in brain circuits that regulate mood, thinking and behavior. It may take several weeks for an antidepressant to fully work to ease depression symptoms, so it’s important to stay on the medication.

(Source: https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/understanding-depression-treatment#1)

NEW PATH FOR TREATING DEPRESSION: Recently, a group of researchers decided to try a depression treatment with a new angle. Their method, called the Emotional Faces Memory Task (EFMT), was developed by two researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. To test this method, the researchers asked patients to identify emotions in a series of faces. At each face, the patients pointed out all previous faces that gave them the same emotion. While it sounds simple, EFMT aims to balance the hyperactive amygdala with the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that makes decisions about incoming information. During the testing phase, patients using EFMT actually reduced their symptoms by over 40 percent. The control group’s symptoms had only reduced 15 percent, giving little doubt to researchers about the new method’s effectiveness. According to lead researcher, Dr. Brian Iacoviello, this treatment works just as well as drug therapy and provides a much safer, unobtrusive route for the treatment.

(Source: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2017/07/10/new-path-for-treating-depression.html)

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