Posts Tagged ‘depression’

South Denver Psychotherapy: The Importance of Sleep, Diet, and Exercise: Part 1: Exercise.

There are those who have had a certain proclivity towards anxiety or depression from a very young age, and is something they must work with in their day to day—no matter how “good” things in their life may seem. In other cases, the effect of depression or anxiety can be more acute or situational.

Whatever the case may be—there are things one can do to mitigate the severity of the symptoms that may accompany these physiological imbalances. Of the many things one can do, sleep, diet and exercise are incredibly important in the balancing of mood.

This particular blog is part 1 of a 3-part series, and will focus on exercise.

The Benefits of Exercise

The movement and circulation alone will improve your mental state, and depending on how much exercise you can commit to each day/week, the aerobic effects as well as the endorphins will elevate your mood on a regular basis. Ideally, at least 3-4 times per week will make this type of routine most effective and balancing.

Frequency and Intensity

Exercise does not have to mean becoming an ultra-marathoner or creating an exercise routine that turns your daily schedule upside down—it can be something as simple as a 1-3 mile walk, a 30-minute jog, a 45-minute hike if you have nice hikes nearby, or a bike ride for 20-30 minutes (though if you can do more, great!) Ideally, while starting a new exercise routine can be a challenge at first, it should be something you can/will enjoy—if not at first, then, eventually.

Setting Realistic Goals

Regardless of how much you wind up exercising, start with a goal that is do-able, so you will be sure to stick with it. And of course, it needs to fit in with your other obligations like work etc—so, find a way to fit this into your daily routine. If you find yourself saying “but I don’t have time”, you may be surprised—often taking the break to exercise will make you more productive and less stressed in the other things that you have to do that day, thus it can be a time saver in the end. Or, if it means waking up a bit earlier to fit your exercise in—you may find that while it can be challenging to wake up earlier than usual, that inevitably your day will be better, and you will be glad you did, feeling more awake, alert and calm.

Balance is important

While exercising every day can have great benefit, be sure to always give yourself at least one rest day per week, if not two. Ideally, exercise should be an enhancement to your day to day, and not something to create more stress for you.

Also, tune in with your body and make sure you are not overdoing it. There is a fine line between pushing past your comfort zone and pushing yourself too hard. All the while, be gentle with yourself even if pushing yourself in a new routine.

As we have already mentioned in this mental health care blog, exercise is just one of many ways to work with balancing your mental health. There is no one action of self-care that will “solve” all of your problems—you can perfect your diet, increase your daily exercise, and be getting plenty of sleep—and still struggle immensely.

It may be that counseling is a support that may be needed in addition to these other elements of improved body health. And, if this is the case—South Denver Psychotherapy is here to support you. South Denver Psychotherapy offers counseling for women, counseling for men, relationship communication issues, teen counseling services, and more. Call South Denver Psychotherapy today to schedule an appointment, or check out our website for more information.

Healthy Eating for Better Mental Health.

Traditionally when we think of diet and nutrition, we think of physical health.

But it turns out that diet is just as important to your mental health as it is to your physical health. More and more, psychiatrists are trained to ask patients about their diet.

So, how should you eat to ensure better mental health? Below are some tips from Mental Health America.

  1. First, make sure you get plenty of water. About 8 glasses of water a day helps prevent dehydration. Even mild dehydration can result in fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and mood changes.
  1. If you have an anxiety disorder or are prone to panic attacks, avoid caffeine, as excess caffeine can trigger panic attacks. If you feel like you need caffeine, try having a cup of tea instead of coffee.
  2. Diets that consist primarily of high-fat dairy and fried, refined, and sugary foods are found to significantly increase the risk of depression. On the other hand, diets that consist primarily of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and unsaturated fats can decrease the risk of depression by up to 30%.
  3. People with Vitamin D deficiency also have higher rates of depression. While most foods do not naturally have Vitamin D, some foods, such as orange juice and breakfast cereals, have Vitamin D added. Taking Vitamin D supplements and getting enough sun exposure can also help ensure that you are getting ample Vitamin D.
  4. Omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in walnuts, flax, olive oil, fresh basil, and dark green leafy vegetables, may also be helpful in the treatment of depression and can help children with ADHD.
  5. Avoid skipping meals, especially breakfast, as this can lead to fatigue and “brain fog.” If you are in a rush in the morning, take something to go, such as a whole grain granola bar, yogurt, and a piece of fruit. This will give you the energy you need to jump-start your day.

If you are struggling with depression, anxiety, or any other mental health issues and are seeking psychotherapy or counseling services, contact South Denver Psychotherapy today.

Source: Mental Health America. Healthy Diet: Eating with Mental Health in Mind.

The Gift of Rest.

Modern society is familiar with depression.

Many of us have experienced it at different times in our lives, while others have struggled with it their entire lives. From those who feel depressed from time to time, to those who suffer from clinical depression—depression is abound in our society.

Something that is perhaps lesser known and often not validated by society at large: adrenal fatigue.

Adrenal fatigue is a group of symptoms that result when the adrenal glands function below the necessary level. Adrenal fatigue stems most commonly from intense and prolonged levels of stress, as well as accompanying other longer-term illnesses.

As the name suggests, the biggest symptom is fatigue that is not relieved by sleep. You may look and act relatively normal with adrenal fatigue and may not have any obvious signs of physical illness, yet you live with a general sense of unwellness, tiredness or “gray” feelings.

In the more serious cases, the activity of the adrenal glands is so diminished that you may have difficulty getting out of bed for more than a few hours per day.

The other thing about adrenal fatigue is that it may mimic the symptoms of depression, and may even be caused by depression. Alternatively, adrenal fatigue may make a person feel depressed.

Regardless of cause, adrenal fatigue is no fun.

Although it affects millions of people in the U.S. and around the world, conventional medicine does not yet recognize it as a distinct syndrome, which make it even more of a challenge for the sufferer than it already is.

Adrenal fatigue is likely more rampant than we as a society may realize, as nowadays, everything and everyone is moving so fast. There is more and more pressure to go, go, go and pressure to achieve. With advances in modern technology, people are trying to be everywhere at once, communicate with as many people as possible, and there is little time or space for downtime, solitude, and rest.

And, the culture of our society is not to rest, but instead, to do whatever it takes to “keep up”, and rather than taking time to rest and recover, we make our stress and fatigue even worse. If you weren’t depressed to start with, you may start to move in that direction as you find your energy dropping even more over time. Rest is a very important and necessary thing that we tend not to give ourselves on a regular basis, or—ever.

Of all of the psychological mood disorders, depression is the most commonly talked about, well-known—and while not always well understood by those who haven’t experienced it first hand—depression is somewhat accepted in the fabric of our culture. Adrenal fatigue not so much.

It is hopeful that over time we as a culture can come to validate and recognize this modern day syndrome so that people can get the help that they need to recover and take care of themselves.

Whether you are experiencing depression, adrenal fatigue, or a combination of the two, contact South Denver Psychology today to find out how we can help you. We offer depression counseling for men, counseling services for women, and offer overall supportive psychotherapy for Colorado residents in Denver and surrounding area.

South Denver Psychology has counselors that you can trust who can help you get the support you need.

Seasonal Affective Disorder: What You Should Know

The Holiday Season is known by many as a happy time. If you look around this time of year, more often than not you’ll find pictures of smiling faces, the sound of laughter on the radio, and episodes of television full of cheer. But for many others, the holiday season is the beginning of a time of low energy, difficulty sleeping, and major depression.

cold grey weather

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Seasonal Affective Disorder–the clinical term for seasonal depression–is a common occurrence in America, with over three million unique cases being reported each year. First formally recognized in 1984, Seasonal Affective Disorder is currently classified by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as a recurrent major depressive disorder. As such, symptoms often include—but are by no means limited to—the feeling of hopelessness or worthlessness, having problems with sleep or appetite, and frequent pervasive depression, often punctuated by thoughts of death or suicide. Interestingly, however, the symptoms are brought on in autumn and often persist through the end of winter.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the specific cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder remains unknown. Theories range from a serotonin deficiency brought on by a drop in sunlight, to an imbalance in melatonin levels causing instabilities in mood, to a simple misalignment of your body’s circadian rhythm leading to an unstable sleep schedule and the feelings of depression that result. Regardless of the cause, the impact is far-reaching and tends to become widespread in more extreme latitudes.

Although the cause of the disorder remains unknown, diagnosis and treatment are well-known and effective. Seasonal Affective Disorder manifests in a number of ways unique from a typical depression diagnosis, including a hypersensitivity to rejection and a heavy, weighted feeling in the limbs. This, along with the unique timing of the disorder, has given clinicians the tools they need to effectively identify those who suffer from SAD, which in turn allows psychologists to properly address the issue.

Treatments of SAD tend to line up with the treatment of depression in general, including talk therapy and medication. However, due to the theories regarding the cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder, a novel solution has presented itself in the form ofphototherapy, in which a light therapy box is used to expose your body to wavelengths of light that mimic the sun. According to the Mayo Clinic, exposure to such wavelengths of light seems to reverse many of the symptoms of SAD. Though research on the subject is limited, it appears to be an effective solution for many who suffer from seasonal depression.

Whatever the treatment, the important thing is to know that you’re not alone, and that treatments exist. If you suffer from seasonal depression, it is possible that you have Seasonal Affective Disorder, and you don’t have to suffer alone. Contact us with any questions you may have. We’re here to help.



Are You Experiencing Stay-at-Home Mom Blues?

Stay at home mom depression - Denver Psychologist

Having a baby is truly a joyous and fulfilling moment. However, what about the mundane days to follow? If you are a stay-at-home mom, this is quite a transition. On top of navigating the ropes of taking care of a baby, you also have the addition of lack of sleep, long open days with seemingly no finished tasks, being trapped at home, a drop in a social life and more.

Gallup recently conducted a study of more than 60,000 U.S. women between the ages of 18-64 years old. This study found that 28 percent of stay-at-home moms admitted to depression a lot of the day. This is in comparison to only 17 percent of employed moms reporting depression. 41 percent of the stay-at-home moms also reported worry, compared to only 34 percent of their working counterparts.

From this study, we can see that this is a real phenomenon. But what is causing it?

1) Sudden change in lifestyle

As we have mentioned, there is an immense amount of change in parent’s lives after a child is born. While they gain something wonderful, the loss of their friends, income, status and life as they knew it is every bit as real. In contrast to working a job, being a mom is also a lot of unpaid work. It is 365 days a year with no vacation time, no paid time off and no breaks. This can result in utter exhaustion, mental breakdowns and being overwhelmed.

2) Isolation factor

Once a women becomes a mom, there is an automatic difference between her and her “non-mom” friends. Their lack of understanding can cause isolation and isolation can contribute to feelings of anger and depression. Some days, moms can’t even get out of the house and that means they receive no adult interaction at all. As wonderful as children are, only having conversations with them can be extremely isolating.

3) Lack of a sense of accomplishment

In the working world, there are clear parameters, tasks and projects given. The work day has a start and end time and there are direct rewards to accomplished tasks. At home, the baby will continue to cry and need a diaper change, food still needs to be cooked, and the laundry and housework will keep piling up. This causes a great lack in a stay-at-home mom feeling appreciated, understood and connected.

The first step to help is recognizing that this is normal! In our next blog, we will discuss some tips to counter stay-at-home depression. If in the meantime you need help, don’t hesitate to set up an appointment with a Denver psychotherapist today.

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