Recognize the Signs of Seasonal Depression, and Other News

Person standing in the middle of a snowy meadowSeasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that manifests seasonally. Most people experience symptoms during the winter months, when light levels are lower and days are shorter, though SAD can also occur in the spring and summer months. As we head toward the shortest day of the year, research suggests many people with SAD do not recognize the symptoms. About half a million Americans experience SAD, but many may experience symptoms for two or three years before seeking help or being diagnosed.

Anyone can develop SAD, though the condition is more common in women than in men, and most people with SAD show symptoms before age 21. The hallmark symptom of SAD is depression—along with related symptoms such as anxiety, guilt, hopelessness, and thoughts of suicide—that occurs on a cyclical basis. Other symptoms of SAD include:

  • poor immunity
  • decreased energy
  • excessive eating and weight gain
  • reduced libido
  • relationship difficulties
  • difficulty concentrating
  • changes in sleep patterns

Light therapy is the most documented treatment for SAD, but a recent study suggests cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) might be even more effective.

Why People Think Total Nonsense is Really Deep

“Wholeness quiets infinite phenomena” is a randomly generated nonsense sentence, but some people may read it and think it has deep meaning. In a four-part study looking at how receptive people are to nonsense, doctoral student Gordon Pennycook and his team found acceptance of nonsense statements correlates with several other personality traits: less reflective, low cognitive ability, belief in things for which there is no proof, the tendency to endorse conspiracies, and a proclivity toward belief in religious phenomena and the paranormal. Pennycook says some people may simply be too open to too many ideas to detect nonsense when they see it.

Food and Emotions: 90 Percent Overlook Key to Weight Loss, Survey Finds

A new survey that explores notions about weight loss found only 10% of respondents believe psychological wellness is the biggest barrier to weight loss. Sixty percent thought the biggest barriers were exercise and diet. According to neuropsychologist Diane Robinson, PhD, changing your relationship with food is typically more important in weight loss.

Community Mental Health Cuts Tied to Spike in ER Visits

Community mental health centers may help keep people from visiting the emergency room when they are in psychological distress. According to a new study, a California emergency room saw an increase in the number and length of mental health evaluations after a nearby community mental health center reduced its services.

Is Racism on the Rise? More in U.S. Say it’s a ‘Big Problem,’ CNN/KFF Poll Finds

Almost half (49%) of Americans say that racism is a “big problem.” In 2011, that figure was 28%, and in 1995, after the O.J. Simpson and Rodney King trials, the figure was 41%. According to the survey of 1,951 Americans, respondents of all demographics and age groups have demonstrated an increase in people who believe racism is a problem today.

Too Much TV While Younger May Hamper Middle-Aged Brain

Low physical activity and high television consumption in young adulthood can undermine cognitive function in middle age, a new study suggests. Eleven percent of participants were deemed “high television watchers,” spending three or more hours each day in front of the TV. This group was more likely to score worse on cognitive skills tests in middle age—except for tests of verbal memory, which showed no differences between those who watched a lot of television and those who did not.

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  • Clancy

    December 4th, 2015 at 10:25 AM

    My relationship with food is that I have always tried to use it in a way to fill me up when I felt that I had nothing else in my life. Obviously the wrong approach and why I have so much weight o lose now, but hey, I finally feel like I am making progress because I see this issue in me and know now that there are other things that I have to work on either before or even while I try to lose this weight.

  • Patsy

    December 5th, 2015 at 10:01 AM

    I was never one to let the Tv be a babysitter but there were of course times as a stay at home that I probably let my kids have a little too much screen time.
    I think that that is something that many of us are guilty of, but I know that the programs that I let them watch were at least educational and I don’t feel that bad about it.
    It allowed me to get some things done that I needed to get done too.

  • Maisy

    December 7th, 2015 at 10:20 AM

    I have a coworker who will believe ANYTHING that she reads and anything that you tell her. Is this nonsense or simply naivete?

  • Alina111

    December 8th, 2015 at 12:22 AM

    It is really important to notice timely that some of your relatives is depressed. Because it can be very dangerous.

  • Carl

    December 8th, 2015 at 7:44 AM

    I wonder where the US went wrong? We have gone form a massive movement and intent to improve civil rights and race relations in this country to now things feeling like they did years and years ago. It is very contentious in many communities, and I am not sure that this is a very positive direction for us to be headed. As a matter of fact I find it quite frightening that we went from making so much progress to this, and it feels like we are going backwards in acceptance and tolerance as well.

  • Martin

    December 9th, 2015 at 11:29 AM

    While I have never had a problem with my own relationship with food I have two sisters who have both struggled with eating disorders for a long time, well practically their whole Lives I would say. I am sure that the unkind words my father always said did nothing to boost their self esteem and probably helped lead them down this road but that’s another story that they have to resolve too don’t you think?

  • blake huff

    December 9th, 2015 at 3:23 PM

    There are many families who, due to lack of personal as well as community resources, have nowhere to go except the ER during a time of medical or mental health crisis. They are simply looking for help and for answers and too many times there is nothing there for them.

  • Mika

    December 10th, 2015 at 2:34 PM

    My mom has SAD and has always had pretty good improvement with her light therapy treatment.

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