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Understanding Seasonal Affective Disorder in Canada

December 13th, 2023

As Canadians, we are no strangers to the long, cold winters that can seem endless. However, for some, the change in seasons brings more than just a longing for warmer days; it brings a form of depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). In this blog, we'll delve into what SAD is, how it particularly affects Canadians, and ways to manage it.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder? Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons. For most people with SAD, symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping energy and causing moodiness. It's more than just the "winter blues" or a seasonal funk that you can easily shake off. SAD affects your daily life, including how you feel, think, and handle daily activities.

SAD in Canada: The prevalence of SAD in Canada is particularly notable due to its northern latitude. Reduced sunlight in fall and winter can disrupt your body's internal clock, leading to feelings of depression. Additionally, the shorter days and longer nights can lead to a drop in serotonin, a brain chemical that affects mood, and an imbalance in melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood.

 

Symptoms of SAD: The symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder in Canada can range from mild to severe and can include:

  • Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day

  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed

  • Low energy and sluggishness

  • Problems with sleeping

  • Changes in appetite or weight

  • Feeling agitated or sluggish

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Feeling hopeless, worthless, or guilty

  • Frequent thoughts of death or suicide

 

Managing SAD in Canada: There are several ways to manage Seasonal Affective Disorder, including lifestyle changes and medical treatments:

 

  1. Light Therapy: This is often a primary treatment for SAD. Light therapy mimics natural outdoor light and appears to cause a change in brain chemicals linked to mood.

  2. Psychotherapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can be an effective treatment for SAD, particularly if combined with light therapy.

  3. Medication: In some cases, antidepressant medication might be recommended, especially if symptoms are severe.

  4. Lifestyle and Home Remedies: Maximizing exposure to sunlight, exercising regularly, and managing stress can help combat SAD. Keeping a regular sleep schedule is also crucial.

  5. Mind-body Connection: Techniques such as yoga, meditation, and art or music therapy can be beneficial.
     

Conclusion: Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real and serious condition that affects many Canadians every year. Understanding SAD and recognizing its symptoms can be the first step towards managing this seasonal depression. If you or someone you know is struggling with SAD, it's important to seek professional help and explore the various treatment options available. Remember, spring always follows winter, and there is support to help you through the darker days.

Call to Action: If you're experiencing symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder, please reach out to a healthcare professional. Sharing your experiences in the comments below can also help others feel less alone in their struggle. Let's support each other through these long winter months.

Sumara, RP (Q)

 

Now offering low cost counselling with Sumara!

May 31st, 2023 

Welcome Sumara to the team! With vast knowledge and expertise in treating mental health disorders, Sumara brings a vast knowledge base in providing an integrated therapy. She uses Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and mindfulness techniques according to the specific needs and personality style of her clients. She can provide Psychotherapy services in English, Urdu, Hindi, and Punjabi.

Stanlee, therapy dog

 

Service Dog on Site!

January 1st, 2023

Welcome Stanlee to the team! Stan in a service dog in training. He will greet you and enjoys pets and rubs. He is trained to detect anxiety and responds to emotional changes by offering comfort. He is a small toy fox terrier but is not hypoallergenic. He resides at the St. Marys location. If you have an issue with dogs please let us know before your appointment.

New Online Counselling Team Member!

March 29th, 2022

Welcome Rochelle to the team! Contact us directly to book an online session with her.

Now Open!

September 6th, 2021

The new office location in St. Mary's, Ontario, is now open. COVID protocols must be followed by all. Call or email to book your appointment.

Moving!

July 16th, 2021

Beginning in August 2021, the office will re-locate to St. Mary's, Ontario. Friday appointments will still be available in Cambridge. 

COVID-19 CHANGES!

August 12th, 2020

DUE TO COVID-19, SESSIONS ARE AVAILABLE VIA PHONE OR VIDEO. Regular hours have resumed. If you wish to attend a session in person (available on Fridays only) you must adhere to all of the protocols and by-laws in Ontario, including proper sanitizing procedures and wearing a mask for the entirety of the session. The CRPO continues to recommend video or telephone sessions. 

COVID-19 UPDATE!

April 1st, 2020

**DUE TO COVID-19, SESSIONS ARE ONLY AVAILABLE VIA PHONE OR VIDEO UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE**

 

Shalyn has a published article in Psychologica Magazine outlining steps to help cope with the changes brought on by COVID-19. Send her a message for your FREE copy today! 

SCHEDULE CHANGE!

January 24th, 2020

Starting February 7th, 2020, Shalyn has extended her hours and will be working during the day on Fridays, from 10am to 6pm. Thank you.

SCHEDULE UPDATE!

September 6th, 2019

As of September 10th, Shalyn Dussiaume will be returning from maternity leave 3 days a week in Cambridge in the evenings. Thank you. 

Am I Enough? Yes!

January 22, 2019

This is an excellent read for anyone who has felt like they are not enough. 

 

https://alonenotlonely.blog/2019/01/22/am-i-enough/

IMPORTANT ANNOUCEMENT! 

December 13, 2018

I would like all new and existing clients to be aware that Shalyn Dussiaume will be on Maternity leave beginning February 1, 2019. She will still be taking on short term and EAP client until this date. There will be a replacement at each location while she is on leave. Please contact the main office or Therapy Heals to book an appointment.  

Now accepting EAP clients through Therapy Heals- Cambridge Location!

September 25, 2018

Contact your insurance company for the proper forms and we do the rest! Call me for a FREE consultation and to book an appointment. 

Fall/winter blues? 

September 1, 2018

Often plagued by S.A.D? Seasonal Affective Disorder is something that can affect half of the Canadian population. You shouldn't have to fight it alone! Call me for a FREE consultation and to book an appointment. 

Summer is coming, time to get your mental health in check!

March 25, 2018

Shalyn Dussiaume Counselling has 3 locations around the GTA. Call me for a FREE consultation and to book an appointment. We accept all major insurances!  

 

Do you have anxiety or depression?

February 8, 2018

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