Seasonal Affective Disorder is commonly known as winter depression. While the winter months, in particular, can be challenging for those who are dealing with S.A.D., the disorder is not necessarily specific to the winter months.

Theresa Girardin is Supervisor of the Recovery & Residential Services Program for Mental Health & Addiction Services in Weyburn for the Saskatchewan Health Authority. She said diagnosing S.A.D. requires meeting specific criteria.

“A person doesn’t have any episodes of depression in any other season, sometimes the person experiences more seasons of depression than seasons without depression over the person’s lifetime,” she explained. “It's not necessarily just winter. It can occur in the fall and for some people sometimes in the spring. What we also find is people who experience S.A.D. don't have any episodes of depression in any other season."

While S.A.D. does occur more frequently in climates with severe and long-lasting winters and reduced daylight hours, the difference between general depression and S.A.D. is the person will experience a normal mood the rest of the time.

Giarardin explained the symptoms of S.A.D.

“Sadness, low self-esteem, no joy from living, guilt, thoughts about self-harm, reduced concentration, indecisiveness, physical aches, slowed down movement, too much or too little sleep, constipation and/or diarrhea and too much or not enough of an appetite,” she said.

She explained there are some self-care ways to combat sad, including socializing and practicing stress management.

Exercising and getting outdoors is also a proven treatment. Taking a walk, even on a cold or cloudy day, can help alleviate the symptoms of S.A.D.

“Making your environment sunnier and brighter, open the blinds, sit close to bright windows while at home or at work,” she said. “If possible, if they can afford it, taking a trip to a sunny destination is beneficial.”

When it comes to self-medicating, Girardin advises refraining from using alcohol, cannabis or illegal drugs.

She said Light Therapy is another proven effective treatment for S.A.D.

“It's recommended that you purchase a light that has at least 10,000 lux. Anything below that, research indicates that it’s not as effective,” she explained. “In light therapy, the light mimics natural outdoors light and appears to cause a change in brain chemicals linked to our mood, so that’s why it’s helpful.”

Those with severe symptoms can benefit from anti-depressant medications, as well as group therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.

“There’s individual or group counselling, or talk therapy, which can help identify and change negative thoughts and behaviours. And it’s also beneficial to learn healthy ways to cope and manage stress,” she said.
Girardin said it’s important for those suffering to remember there is help available- they do not need to suffer alone. If you suspect that you or someone you know is dealing with S.A.D, you can contact your Family Physician, or contact Saskatchewan Health Authority Mental Health & Addiction Services at 1-800-261-7689. You can also contact Mental Health & Addiction services directly at 306-842-8665 Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

She also reminds that the Healthline, at 8-1-1, is available 24 hours as a day, as is your nearest emergency room.

She added the University of Regina offers an ICBT (Internet Cognitive Behavior Therapy) program. Call 1-306-337-3331 to sign up for online therapy provided over the internet.

'Just Watch Me' Showcases Rural Entrepreneurs

The sixth annual 'Just Watch Me' contest is well underway and it offers a chance for entrepreneurs in Saskatchewan and Manitoba with disabilities to be recognized for their work in the business…

WPS Thankful for Community Support

"It was absolutely touching and amazing and it brought a lump to my throat, and even talking about it brings a lump to my throat, is how the community supported this police service." Weyburn Police…

Communithon Will Continue in 2019

After the dissolution of the Weyburn and District United Way in December, there were questions surrounding the future of the Communithon in the Opportunity City. At a community Communithon meeting on…

Risk of Frostbite Heightened by Harsh Winds

With these dangerously cold temperatures we're experiencing, there is a very real risk of frostbite. A high pressure ridge is pushing in frigid Arctic air and we're seeing wind chills dip into the…

Bitter Winds Sticking Around

After some balmy temperatures and days to start the new year, more traditional Saskatchewan weather has moved in for the third week of January. Cold days and even colder nights with bitter winds is…

Lack of Flu Shots At Weyburn Pharmacies

If you are looking to get a flu shot at a pharmacy in Weyburn, you are going to have trouble finding it. Weyburn, like many other communities across the province, is experiencing a shortage of the…

Development Levy Waived In Peculiar Situation

The City of Weyburn put a revised off-site development levy in place in 2018, after roughly a year of discussions. At Monday’s city council meeting, the bylaw was before them as a local business…

Budget Reactions: Twila Walkeden

“I think it was a well-planned budget” The thoughts of Weyburn Chamber of Commerce executive director Twila Walkeden on the City of Weyburn’s 2019 budget, which was released on Monday. She said the…

Police Relieved With Quiet Week

After some crazy incidents involving Police the past few weeks, the past seven days offered a much quieter work environment for the WPS. "Anytime we can be a little quieter, it means either cold…

Snowplow Safety Important For Everyone

With the lack of snowfall we've seen in the southeast corner of the province, it's easy to forget about the drivers that keep the roads clear and drivers safe. Snowplow operators are often overlooked…

DiscoverWeyburn.com is Weyburn's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

Search the Biz Guide

Login