Friday, November 22, 2013

Rain, Rain, Go Away: Understand and Prevent Depression

People of any age can experience the onset or symptoms of depression, and not just during the winter.

Woman in winter.

You may think you’re accustomed to the drizzly gray days of Pacific Northwest winters, but that doesn’t mean you’re immune to the negative emotions that can accompany the shorter, darker days.

According to Amy Davis, PsyD, a core faculty member in the Department of Counseling and Health Psychology at Bastyr University, people of any age can experience the onset or symptoms of depression, and not just during the winter.

“All of us have a pretty wide range of normal emotional expression that we’re used to and is fine for us,” says Dr. Davis, who supervises students at the University's Seattle teaching clinic, Bastyr Center for Natural Health, as the clinical training director for the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology program. “If we start to have experiences outside that range, it can be helpful to talk about it.”

SAD Common in Winter

Depression rates range throughout the United States, including one of the forms most common in winter: seasonal affective disorder (SAD) which affects up to 10 percent of the U.S. population.

“It is important to be aware of all symptoms of depression,” Dr. Davis says. “With the proper help, you can absolutely make a full recovery and prevent further onset of symptoms.”

Clinicians at Bastyr Center can help you work through the symptoms and learn preventive measures for many forms of depression, from SAD to severe clinical depression.

“The key is to be proactive,” says Dr. Davis. “Make an active plan to take care of yourself.”

Prevention Starts with You

If you start to feel the symptoms of depression or notice symptoms in a friend or family member, don’t wait to seek help, says Dr. Davis.

Instead, she recommends you take ownership of your mental health and encourage others around you to do similarly.

“Educating yourself about how our mind, body and spirit work together is very important,” Dr. Davis says. “Our depression may show up in our thoughts, our bodies, or our energy, and it’s important to remember that we can also use our minds, bodies and spirits to help ourselves feel better.

“Part of good self-care and well-being is knowing what we can do for ourselves, and knowing when to ask for help.”

Learn more about depression awareness and prevention with the following Living Naturally talk “Dealing with Depression Naturally” by Dr. Davis and Maeghan Culver, ND:

You can make an appointment for a counseling visit at Bastyr Center for Natural Health by calling (206) 834-4100. All counseling visits cost $20 except for biofeedback.

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