Although spring is officially only three weeks away, the snow continues to pile up and the temperature is not forecast to rise above freezing any time soon.
While this is the time of year many people can develop what’s known as the “winter blues,” there is an even more serious condition associated with having a tough time mentally dealing with winter.
Janice Audeau is a pharmacist at Health and Performance in Corner Brook who battles depression, was guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Corner Brook’s weekly luncheon Thursday. She discussed seasonal affective disorder, a type of depression that sets in during the same season each year.
While it can affect people in the spring and summer, the most common cases affect people in the fall and winter.
While the most serious cases require prescribed medications, Audeau offered up some tips that help deal with depression brought on by the changing of the seasons and which can also help keep the winter blues at bay.
* Sunlight therapy
- The most significant factor in both seasonal affective disorder and the winter blues is decreased exposure to sunlight. There are products on the market that can provide ultraviolet light therapy. When used properly, these devices can help stimulate the production of serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, chemicals in the brain that control mood.
* Eating well
- A healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables and proteins in accordance with the new Canada Food Guide can help keep the brain happy.
- Being active by exercising for at least 30 minutes a day, three times a week, can also be an effective mood booster.
* Natural supplements
- Vitamin D is lacking in most people who live in northern climates where the sun, a natural source of Vitamin D, shines less during winter or is hidden behind cloud cover. There are also other benefits to taking this as a supplement, including bone health.
- Other supplements can also help improve someone’s mood. Precautions should be taken, though. Some, such as St. John’s wort, can interfere with other prescribed medications.
* Prescribed medication
- Prescribed medications are often used to battle depression and anxiety. Sometimes, the initial side effects can make symptoms worse, so it’s important to keep taking them until the body adjusts to the medication
Resources in Corner Brook for help with mental health issues:
- This publicly-run facility on Boone’s Road offers help for more than just n-patient addictions treatment. It also has programs for anxiety, self-esteem and other issues
- This is a publicly-funded walk-in clinic, also located on Boone’s Road, that offers mental health counseling
* Blomidon Place
- A mental health service provider for youth located on Riverside Drive.
* Bridge the gApp
* A website supporting mental wellness administered by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and which has separate links for adults and youth. It can be accessed at https://www.bridgethegapp.ca/.