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Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder and How to Overcome SAD

As the mercury drops and the days get shorter, it’s tempting to go into hibernation. For many, this is more than just the “holiday blues” and actually manifests as a form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder (aptly abbreviated as “SAD”). If you’re concerned about yourself or a loved one, here are some common signs of the condition, along with a few tips for overcoming it.

Signs of Seasonal Affective Disorder

SAD is similar to general depression but usually clears up with the arrival of spring. Common signs include:

  • Low energy– feelings of sluggishness and a desire to sleep more
  • Increased appetite– often accompanied by cravings for carbohydrates, which can lead to weight gain
  • Feelings of depression, anxiety, and irritability

Practical Tips to Overcome Seasonal Affective Disorder

Light Therapy: Many people with winter depression turn to light therapy (phototherapy) for relief. You can purchase a lightbox (online, without a prescription) that mimics natural light and is much more powerful than regular light bulbs. Phototherapy is most effective when done first thing in the morning, for about 30 minutes. Dawn simulators, which gradually brighten your bedroom to wake you up, may also be helpful. Since SAD is associated with a decrease in natural light, try to get outside every day and keep the blinds open to let the sunshine in.

Healthy Diet: Instead of reaching for starchy comfort food, eat a healthy diet of whole foods, especially those rich in Vitamin D. You may want to consider a vitamin D supplement if you’re not getting enough of the nutrient through diet alone.

Exercise: Regular physical activity can help you combat the holiday blues (and lose weight if you’ve been eating too many carbs). For best results, try some aerobic exercise outside. Even a brisk walk can help lighten your mood.

Reflection: Daily journaling can serve as an outlet for negative feelings while helping you sort out your thoughts and identify depression triggers.

Socializing: Although it may be the last thing you want to do, make a point of planning plenty of social activities so you don’t isolate yourself.

Comprehensive Seasonal Affective Disorder Treatment

If SAD symptoms are interfering with your work and relationships, mental health treatment may be in order. Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital offers comprehensive, individualized mental health therapy that may include inpatient treatment, partial hospitalization, or intensive outpatient counseling.

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Healthy Mental Health Strategies for Your Loved Ones To Develop

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Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital Helps Teen Struggling with Thoughts of Suicide

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February: Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. As experts in providing specialized mental health treatment, Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital is prepared to take on the challenging task of treating victims of teen dating violence at their facility and through community outreach.

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Mental Health Awareness: A Guide for 2019

October was recognized as Mental Health Awareness month, but while that has passed us by, the discussion shouldn’t be limited to a single time of the year. It is more important than ever to address this delicate subject and oft-misunderstood mental illness in the light of the Thousand Oaks Shooting, and other prevalent tragedies like […]

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SSGT Petry Visits Military Patients at Smokey Point Extra Mile Military Program

On January 29, 2019, Medal of Honor recipient Leroy Petry paid a surprise visit to patients in the Extra Mile Military Care Program at Smokey Point. He met with mental health patients as a group and inspired many of them with his words of encouragement. If anyone can relate to the challenges associated with combat stress and transition from military life, it is SSgt Petry. For several patients, his visit felt like a turning point in their inpatient treatment process. “Hearing that he understands how I am feeling is something that I will never forget,” said one Veteran. It is moments such as this, and the camaraderie associated with military service that is what makes the EMMC program so impactful in the lives of our active duty service members, Veterans, and dependents.

MSG Petry has endorsed the Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital’s new Extra Mile Military Care™ program.  “If having my name associated with the Extra Mile program encourages someone to seek the help they need, I’m all for it,” says MSG Petry.

On May 26, 2008, while serving with the elite 2nd Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment, headquartered at Fort Lewis, Washington, then Staff Sergeant Petry was participating in an audacious daylight raid against a well defended Taliban encampment in Paktya, Afghanistan.  The enemy, well dug in and exceptionally determined to withstand the Rangers’ assault, engaged Staff Sergeant Petry and his team of Rangers within hand to hand combat range.  Petry, the senior non-commissioned officer during the clearing of the enemy compound, was wounded in both legs during the assault.  Almost immediately afterward an enemy grenade landed among Petry and two other Rangers.  Without hesitation, Petry grabbed the grenade, throwing it away from his fellow Rangers.  Per the official Medal of Honor narrative “Staff Sergeant Petry threw it away from his fellow Rangers resulting in a catastrophic amputation of his right hand and multiple shrapnel wounds penetrating his body.” After the explosion Petry applied his own tourniquet, reported he had been wounded again but was still in contact with the enemy.

Master Sergeant (MSG) Petry became the first Army Ranger to receive the Medal of Honor for his actions that day.  He would recover from his wounds and go on to work closely as a wounded warrior advocate with the Special Operations Command’s Care Coalition.  Master Sergeant Petry, a longtime Washington resident, will speak about reducing the stigma of combat related PTSD in our Active Duty, Guard, Reserve and Veteran populations and the importance of self-care and seeking help for the invisible wounds of war.

Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital Welcomes New Director of Business Development and Admissions

MARYSVILLE, Wash. – (2019) – Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital announces Julian Thompson as the new Director of Business Development and Admissions. Thompson is joining the hospital from his previous position at Amerigroup in Seattle as the Clinical Director of Behavioral Health. After receiving his Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Salem State College, Thompson dedicated […]