Depression

Depression is a serious medical issue. It’s more than just feeling “down in the dumps” or “blue” for a few days. It’s feeling down, sapped of energy, and hopeless for weeks at a time.

What are the signs of Depression?

You only need a few of these to feel miserable

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness and pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness
  • Sleep problems (too much or too little)
  • Loss of energy or no motivation
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyable

A variety of treatments, including medications and short-term psychotherapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy, have proven effective for depression symptoms.  

Our first choice of treatment is always talk therapy, especially when the depression is caused by a situation. We only recommend medication when absolutely necessary, which means when a person is no longer sleeping, or cannot eat or function at home or work. We also embrace using natural treatments of supplements, exercise, Neurofeedback therapy, positive thinking, and emotional, physical, and spiritual balance. For natural treatments using supplements, we work with an experienced individual who has her Masters in Chinese medicinal herbs and supplements.

We would count it a privilege to meet with you (one-on-one or with a loved one), and help you take the next step toward ending the pain and suffering of depression.  Whether your depression is caused by genetics or difficult circumstances, we can help you find the freedom you need to live a fulfilling life.

Depression Screening: download here

Thoughts of Suicide or know someone who is considering it?

Thoughts of suicide are taken seriously. If you or someone you know is thinking of suicide call the crisis line at 1-800-892-8900, call 911, or go to the nearest emergency room.

Seasonal Depression and Light Therapy

Light therapy for seasonal depression (or “Seasonal Affective Disorder”) has been around ever since SAD was recognized and defined in 1984. Light therapy is also used to treat sleep issues. For more information on research and clinical studies for the use of light therapy to treat seasonal depression, read this brief introductory article, here.

The “natural” way to use light therapy is to make the most of natural light, even on gray and gloomy days. The closer to waking time that you can get a dose of light, the better. Try sitting on the front porch facing the direction of the sun with your morning cup of coffee. Make sure that synthetic light is dimmed in the evening, as excessive synthetic light after daytime hours can actually have a negative effect on seasonal depression. These guidelines apply to the use of synthetic light therapies as well.

If you live in an area that doesn’t get enough light and suffer from seasonal depression, you may consider getting a light box for treatment. Light boxes vary significantly in quality. If you are researching purchasing a light box for at-home use, consider the following important criteria:

  • The light box should have been tested successfully in peer-reviewed clinical trials.
  • The box should provide 10,000 lux of illumination at a comfortable sitting distance. (Product specifications are often missing or unverified.)
  • Fluorescent lights should have a smooth diffusing screen that filters out UV rays, which are harmful to the eyes and skin.
  • The lamp should give off a white light instead colored light. “Full spectrum” lamps and blue/bluish lamps provide no known therapeutic advantage.
  • The light should be projected downward toward the eyes at an angle to minimize aversive visual glare.
  • Smaller is not always better. When using a compact light box, even small movements will take the eyes out of the therapeutic range of light.

How and when you use the light box is important. The closer to waking time, the better, and getting a dose of light as close to waking may be even more important (in terms of benefit) than the brand. Don’t use it later in the day, as that can contribute to sleep difficulties.

A couple recommendations:

  • Uplift Technologies makes two great lamps marketed under the brand “Day-Light.” See their website, here. You can buy their classic model on Amazon for around $150 here.
  • Verilux is a popular brand. The drawback is that they face up rather than projecting light down, which may be more effective. They larger ones are better suited for treating SAD, but they do make convenient smaller models. You can purchase their “Happy Light Compact Energy Lamp” on Amazon for less than $70 (here), and it’s easy to order replacement bulbs.
  • Northern Light Technologies makes good lamps in the $200 - $300 range. You can find them on their website, here, as well as on Amazon.
  • Sunbox makes a variety of light therapy products, including a visor and a travel pack. You can check out their website here. Remember the list of criteria when evaluating their products, as some of them may be too small to be effective at treating seasonal depression.

To further research seasonal depression, read Dr. Nathanial Rosenthal’s Winter Blues: Seasonal Affective Disorder, available on Amazon here.

 

 

Doug Neal

CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST

Dr. Neal has been in practice since 1981. He is passionate about helping his clients discover freedom and live the life they were created for. He works with... Meet Doug Neal

Kristina Polley

Kristina Polley

THERAPIST
LICENSED CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKER
REGISTERED NURSE

Kristina has worked in outpatient and inpatient settings with various age groups, and brings 20 years of experience as a licensed clinical social worker... Meet Kristina Polley