Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)Posted on January 27, 2012
The Winter Blues
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a term we hear often, particularly in the north where the winter brings long nights, short days, and minimal opportunities to be outside. What is SAD, really? It is a reaction to a lower amount of sunlight that produces symptoms similar to depression. These can include lack of energy, increased fatigue, increased or decreased appetite, loss of interest in activities, feeling sluggish (particularly in the afternoon), unhappiness, and social withdrawal/isolation. Typically with SAD these symptoms begin in late fall/early winter and will start to subside as the days grow longer in the spring.
It may be difficult to distinguish SAD from other forms of mood disorders, including depression. If you are struggling to identify if you have SAD versus depression, discussing your history and symptoms with a healthcare professional can help.
What can you do to manage SAD symptoms? If you are struggling with some (or all) of these symptoms, self-care and a healthy approach to life are key factors to your success. This includes regular exercise, a diet that is rich in vegetables, protein and vitamin D, minimizing caffeine and stimulant intake, regular social contact, and getting as much exposure to sunlight as possible, especially in the morning and early afternoon hours. If this is not possible for you on a regular basis, some people will purchase a light therapy unit for their personal use. Before embarking on this path, however, it is recommended that you discuss this option with your physician, as light therapy has potential side effects and must be used appropriately. In some cases, individuals will use anti-depressant medication to manage their symptoms.
If you would like to learn more about SAD, the following resources are available:
U.S. National Library of Medicine
You can also contact HUM to speak with a healthcare professional about SAD or other struggles you may be having. We promote health and well-being along biological, psychological, social, and spiritual lines. You can reach us at 403-536-2480. Do not let the winter blues get you down!
Paige Abbott, M.Sc., R.Psych.
Women’s GroupPosted on January 17, 2012
We now have an official start date for our new Women’s Group! On March 2nd, 2012 it will run between 9:00am and 11:00am and continue every Friday. Facilitated by Paige Abbott, RPsych and Sue Newton, RN, this group is open to women who have three months of active recovery. If you are interested please call Chelsea at 403-536-2480
or ask any of our associates at your next appointment.
Stress ManagementPosted on January 9, 2012
Ways to reduce and cope with stress
For many of us, the holidays can be a stressful time. Prolonged stress negatively impacts our physical and mental health so it is important to recognize your sources of stress and find ways to reduce and cope with this stress.
Not all stress can be avoided and it’s not healthy to avoid a situation that needs to be addressed, but you may be surprised by the number of stressors that can be reduced in your life.
Ways to reduce stress
Learn to say NO – know your boundaries and stick to them.
Spend less time with people who stress you out – If someone consistently causes stress in your life and you can’t turn the relationship around, limit the amount of time you spend with that person or consider ending the relationship entirely.
Alter your environment – if the evening news makes you anxious, turn the TV off. If traffic makes you tense, take a longer but less-traveled route. If going to the market is an unpleasant chore, do your grocery shopping online.
Pare down your “TO DO ” list – Review your schedule, responsibilities, and daily tasks. If you’ve got too much on your plate, distinguish between the “shoulds” and the “musts.” Drop tasks that aren’t truly necessary to the bottom of the list or eliminate them entirely.
Reframe problems – Try to view stressful situations from a more positive perspective. Rather than fuming about a traffic jam, look at it as an opportunity to pause and regroup, listen to your favorite radio station, or enjoy some alone time.
Look at the big picture – Take perspective of the stressful situation. Ask yourself how important it will be in the long run. Will it matter in a month? A year? Is it really worth getting upset over? If the answer is no, focus your time and energy elsewhere.
Reduce expectations – Work on reducing the expectations for yourself and others as “expectations are premeditated resentments”
Focus on the positive-When stress is getting you down, take a moment to reflect on all the things you appreciate in your life, including your own positive qualities and gifts. This simple strategy can help you keep things in perspective.
Healthy Ways to cope with stress
Journaling – helps you identify the stressors in your life and gives you insight about the way you deal with stress and your patterns of behavior.
Express feelings instead of bottling them up – If something or someone is bothering you, communicate your concerns in an open and respectful way. If you don’t voice your feelings, resentment will build and the situation will likely remain the same.
Meditation – the mental focus on nothingness keeps your mind from working overtime which impacts how you cope with stress.
Yoga – it combines the practice of several stress management techniques such as breathing, meditation, imagery and movement giving you lots of benefit for the amount of time and energy required.
Exercise – exercise in moderation provides a distraction from stressful situations as well as an outlet for frustrations.
Music – when dealing with stress, the right music can lower blood pressure, relax your body and calm your mind.
Sue Newton, RN
Addiction, Mental Health and Chronic Pain WorkshopPosted on January 6, 2012
February 24th, 2012
There is still plenty of time to register for our Addiction, Mental Health and Chronic Pain workshop on February 24th! This full day workshop will benefit health care providers, physicials, and those who have been touched by addiction in their own lives. Join us for this full day interactive work shop!
February 24th, 2012 900am – 400pm
$125/person including refreshments and lunch
Contact Chelsea at 403-536-2480 or firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
What people are saying
I just wanted to thank Dr. Hajela, Sue and everyone else at the clinic for teaching me so much on this very short elective. I can see the tremendous difference your clinic makes in the lives of its patients, and it’s very inspiring.
“I am forever grateful for the opportunity and the staff. Each played a crucial role on my journey in recovery. It’s a safe place to be knowing I will be met with understanding, honesty, and compassion.”
“Exactly what I needed-a holistic approach to recovery. Fantastic team approach by the HUM team. Would highly recommend HUM for a successful start to recovery.”
“It was nothing like what I had expected, it was even better and where I am in my journey was originally unimaginable. Thank you for helping me find hope and curiosity!”
“I see that IOP gives me a chance to hear, absorb, integrate, and practice new ways of thinking and acting. Each phase and the time in between also allowed for this knowledge to start to become practical.”
“I really appreciated the professionalism of all the staff. The environment and the people are very welcoming”
“I am convinced this is the single most important program I have and ever will attend. Phenomenal!”
“I’m so impressed with how [Paige] and Dr. Hajela SO understand addiction, and how to help me see the blind spots, release some shame (or at least see it!), gain insight and connect with actually FEELING what is going on with me and how the disease shows up for me ….so amazing… Thank-you very much.”
“[The IOP] was an amazing opportunity. I liked the topics that were covered and the group therapy.”
“[For the IOP] I liked the balance of education, self-care, and sharing. I really like the ongoing discussion in the education sessions and sharing during this time, as well as in group [therapy]”
“[The IOP] was great-not just for recovery, but for life”
Anonymous Evaluation Form
“[IOP] group was great for opening up and constructive feedback”
Anonymous Evaluation Form
“[The IOP was] informative, interactive and entertaining. Keep up the great work!”
“Thank you for the very excellent group [therapy session]. The small change in perspective of my communication is making waves.”
“The newsletter sent to me was a reminder to thank you for your weekly video messages. They are quick but helpful bits of info which give you food for thought! Keep them coming!”
“The Family weekend [of the IOP] was incredible for me personally. Thank you many times over for this wonderful opportunity.”
Rebecca Foster, Foreward Reviews
The mixture of practical information and reassurances make this essential reading for patients and their loved ones.
With their first book, Addiction Is Addiction, Raju Hajela, Sue Newton, and Paige Abbott aim to foster “more open and honest dialogues about the role of Addiction in society, without stigma or judgment.” This comprehensive, well-organized guide discusses the features of addictive thinking and feeling, suggests holistic recovery methods, and offers useful definitions, diagrams, and case studies.
The authors are affiliated with Health Upwardly Mobile Inc., a health and wellness company based in Calgary, Alberta. Tracing the history of addiction back to the eighteenth century, when it was first known as “alcoholic disease syndrome,” they present an expert view of the disease’s symptoms and outlook. By stressing that addiction is a “chronic brain disease” rather than a “moral failing or personal weakness,” they evince a compassionate perspective that will encourage patients and their family members to examine their emotions and take a proactive, spiritual approach to recovery.
Addiction is influenced by both genetics and environment, the former accounting for perhaps 50 to 60 percent of incidence. Trauma does not cause it, but can aggravate it. Although the book is full of such relevant background details, the facts never become overwhelming thanks to the variety of materials included. Intriguing case studies, most of them narrated in first person, are set in italics, and diagrams and tables illustrate patients’ likely feelings, relationship roles, and recovery stages. Reading this should be an interactive experience, what with self-assessment questions and affirmations, a journaling template, and a recovery activities checklist with a sample schedule. Extensive endnotes and bibliography plus a helpful glossary provide ample resources for further research, and chapter summaries will ensure that all the take-home messages sink in.
Sometimes the book goes into too much detail for laymen. However, this means that it can be used by professionals as well as patients. An appendix on chakras seems out of place, even with the book’s focus on spiritual means of recovery. The authors have also made the unusual decision to always capitalize Addiction, “to emphasize that it is a proper noun and the name of a serious disease.” That’s as may be, but in practice it can look like a repeated typing mistake. Information appears to be specific to North America, especially when it comes to funding limitations and patient advocacy, but the general principles of care should be applicable worldwide.
This book is strongly recommended to those who have participated in groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. The mixture of practical information and reassurances will make it essential reading for patients and their loved ones.
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have his/her book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Review make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
Three health care professionals present an approach to treating addiction as a disease having both physical and psychological components.
In this debut health book, Hajela, Newton, and Abbott address the challenges of addiction from a holistic medical and social perspective. The book opens with an explanation of addiction—which the authors capitalize throughout, part of their effort to mitigate the stigma associated with the word—as a condition that impairs the functions of the brain. They address the physical and behavioral symptoms associated with it, using pathology as a framework for understanding and treating addiction. Without blaming the patient for developing the condition in the first place, the book attempts to acknowledge the role of personal responsibility in managing a condition often attributed to individual shortcomings. The authors address medical treatments that can be effective for some forms of addiction, like alcohol and opiates, as well as the role of psychotherapy in treating underlying psychological problems and combating the thought patterns that lead to addiction behaviors. While much of the book is aimed at people dealing with addiction, later chapters discuss the roles of friends and family and treatment providers, along with strategies each group can employ in supporting the patient. For the most part, the book advocates a balanced, reasonable approach to dealing with addiction in its many forms, drawing on research and standard practices developed by mainstream organizations. As a result, it is disconcerting when the text introduces energy healing as a component of treatment: “It is important to understand that when people are out of balance in any of the energy centres, or chakras, people run at either a higher or lower level of energy.” Although an appendix explains the concept of chakras in more detail, energy healing is not essential to the book’s mission, and skeptics will still find it a useful resource for developing an approach to treating both the mental and physical aspects of addiction and understanding it as a chronic disease.
Comprehensive approach to treating addiction as a condition affecting both mind and body.
I have found HUM very supportive and non-judgmental, yet I have been challenged every step of the way. The spiritual, emotional, social, and intellectual teaching has been clear and consistent but never forced.
My experience has been mainly positive for the most part. Anything negative or perceived as negative, I have been able to discuss with staff and it is professionally dealt with.
I value my weekly [group therapy] sessions at HUM greatly. My personal experience there means more to me than I can describe in one paragraph. It helps me really understand my recovery and my life when sometimes I feel that everything is lost or in a state of confusion.
I was very fortunate to hear about HUM and then become a patient. I may well have averted death if I did not receive the guidance and support of HUM. Having the backing of HUM as I returned to work and went off again was invaluable. Dr. Hajela listened to me and had the knowledge and understanding that gave me the confidence to be patient in my early recovery. I was never judged though I expected to be. I am grateful beyond words for the help I received in battling my addiction.
Very professional , discreet, and honestly committed to helping people in recovery.
Thought provoking sessions that focus particularly on my addiction. Understanding a problem and all of the subtleties that come with it are crucial to my recovery.
I felt very safe and comfortable and I felt truly cared for by the staff and never judged
[The HUM IOP] was great, I learnt so much
I am very satisfied with the services I receive at HUM. I feel that I am recognized and acknowledged by the staff…I feel very comfortable coming to HUM and appreciate the team approach. In closing, I must say that I feel very supported by the professionals at HUM.
The HUM group is a great asset for any person struggling with addiction as well as the complicated issues that surround them.
I really like how open the staff are. They are easy to connect with and talk to.
The IOP is awesome! This was life changing for me
I appreciate the attitude that recovery is approached with
The IOP provides fantastic support and the feeling that problems are manageable, there is hope in recovery, and it is never too late to seek help