Tagged: dysthymia

Releasing Into Play And Joy

Posted on June 8, 2014

Close up of pink sneakers worn by a teenager.Help! Your inner child is screaming for you to come and get him or her. What are you waiting for? You’re too busy, yes, I’ve heard that before. But don’t wait for one of life’s wake-up calls to remind you to live. It’s a now or never thing. You don’t want to look back a decade from now and say “I regret not…”

We look but do we always see? We have many responsibilities in our daily lives, but to ignore the beauty in the moment, and to deny our senses pleasure and curiosity is a cruel blow to the soul. Every cell in your being screams for joy –- the question is, can you allow yourself to have it? You eat foods that nourish your body, you exercise to maintain your strength and health, but how are you gifting your spirit? I have a particularly fond memory of working with a dying cancer patient. The purity of her words really hit home for me. In a therapy session, she wanted to meditate and as she opened her eyes, and with astonishing clarity and absolute knowing, she said “every moment is perfect.”  My client knew this truth, and yet we allow our very real and often messy problems of life interfere with our ability to “see” the truth and beauty that is abundant – everywhere – in the smallest of moments and places. If you, like many, have your stuff, and your money, and all the trappings of this material world, but still feel a sinking emptiness — there is a way to help yourself!  If you are mired in the problems of daily life and feel hopeless, you too can find some pleasure – if you allow yourself this gift to the soul. Wake up. How, you may ask? I’ve included some nudges towards joy in this post that may inspire you to seek more play and beauty in the moment, consciously. We are, after all, pleasure-seeking creatures. Discover what really moves you. Find and share yourself! Here’s how:

  • Play - We must take time to fool around, be silly, have fun. We did this as kids why must we give this up?  Find your best childhood moments and surround yourself with people who have a similar playful spirit. Using your imagination even as we get older continues to create new neural pathways. Neural connections are good, brain atrophy, not so good! Your inner child is asking you to join him or her. Play jacks, fingerpaint, make sand angels, do whatever makes your heart sing. Let go.
  • Journaling - The act of recording moments of happiness and gratitude has been shown to enhance the joy factor for many people. What are you grateful for? Recording these moments enhances the experience and makes us better able to pay attention to even more potentially happy moments in the future. Who wouldn’t want to add-in more happiness. The art of journaling about what brings us joy shows us that even simple moments — like the sun streaming in the window on a still dewy day — can trump what we think are the “big” ones. Capture the moments and try gratitude journaling every day.
  • Master a new skill - Frustrating as this may be, learning a new skill makes us happier in the long run. It gives us a sense of mastery and accomplishment which boosts self-esteem. Learning  something new, and the novelty of that experience excites neural pleasure pathways, increasing that feel good dopamine chemical.  Our brain loves neurotransmitters in abundance!
  • Stuff doesn’t make us happy - However investing in new experiences may. We grow tired of our material possessions and they can always be replaced with newer, shinier objects. However, a positive experience remains as good as your memory and has staying power.
  • Nurture with nature - Feel the earth, wiggle your toes, touch the air and grass beneath your feet, breathe the air, sit near water, find the sun, move against the wind, watch the movement of leaves on the trees and study the insects as they busy themselves. Be curious. It’s really quite fun and informative!
  • Discover scent and aromatherapy - Aromatics could be nature’s prozac. Lavender and orange oil reduces stress responses in the nervous system because of a chemical called linalool which alters blood chemistry. I love Young Living Oils and am a Mountain Rose Herb fan. You can research for yourself the many ways that essential oils can nourish your mind and body.
  • Discover the wonders of your body - If you are of able body and have the will,  strengthen your body. I love the practice of yoga now, but do remember the first ten times or so cursing my way through asanas. Now I have not only great respect for the breathing, meditation, purifying and alignment aspects of yoga but I am kick-ass strong. Don’t mess with me! If yoga is not your thing, try kickboxing, strength training, whatever – just move and get strong. Give your body what it needs. Feel your way through it. Gift your body with the awe it deserves
  • Kindness - Practice this. Neuroscientists show that the frontal lobe lights up when we feel and express compassion and kindness. As well, Oxytocin, the hormone that flows when we hug, kiss and feel connected, calms stress and enhances immune function. Touch is an amazing way to ignite compassion in yourself and others. Check out “loving kindness” meditation where we focus on kind thoughts while meditating. Touch someone today!
  • Practice good will and give some stuff away - Give up things that you no longer need. The art of decluttering your life and giving to others feels good. Both aspects of cleansing and nurturing can be healing.
  • A Quick walk to ease tension - I always tell my clients that less can be more, and certainly better than nothing, especially when you’re in a funky little rut.  A small amount of something, such as a ten minute walk, can do wonders to lift the spirit and make it possible for joy to find you. Give up the all or nothing way of thinking — you know — if it’s not an hour-long power walk, it doesn’t count. Faulty thinking.
  • Hire a life coach - Many have success using the help and skill of an expertly trained life coach to help and support with any interference, negative self-talk, resistance. The process gives you accountability, as well as a general kick in the butt during tough times. Changing beliefs, habits and past conditioning as well as moving out of one’s comfort zone is very difficult.  Partnering with a trusted friend, partner or life coach can jump-start you into taking action. Coaching can ask the tough questions that help you find your own answers and brilliance as to why joy, success and movement seems to slip through your fingers!
  • Make  joy-finding a priority - Many of my clients are “joy” deprived — seriously joy-avoidant or feel that they don’t deserve to be happy. Does this old theme or narrative sound familiar?  I often hear “well, if I don’t take things seriously, be vigilant, and toil away, then who will” I then say “that must be such a burden for you!”  Our notion that hyper-vigilance keeps the boat afloat often doesn’t ring true. Things happen whether we stand guard or not. I’m not advocating becoming irresponsible, just lighten your load. Were you raised in a “pro struggle, anti-pleasure environment?”  What do you lose if you give up suffering? Suffering is not virtuous. It’s painful. Say goodbye to your family legacy of “anti joy.” You can learn to let in some light and life, and make room for happiness. The details might just be in the small joys that you encounter when you give yourself permission to see, love, feel, touch and experience. Small steps.

Watch less TV, spend more time with people who bring you joy, get more sleep, clean your house less, play more, sing, dance, write — create your own list of joy-making activities.

Kimberly Seelbrede is a New York City PsychotherapistConsultantEMDR Therapist and Life Coach who specializes in an integrative approach to psychotherapy and coaching, working with adults, adolescents and couples. Kimberly is trained to collaborate with you in developing the insight, self-awareness and coping skills to address many concerns including: relationship, marital difficulties and interpersonal issues, anxiety, depression, panic disorder, obsessions, phobias, self-esteem, self-harm, ADD/ADHD, social difficulties, adolescent challenges, underachievement, perfectionism, identity and sexuality concerns, addictions, compulsions, PTSD, trauma, transitions, bereavement/loss, performance problems, life balance, stress reduction, self-care, women’s issues, purpose, spirituality, recovery support and meditation and mindfulness training. Kimberly specializes in working with high-profile, creative and talented individuals as well as issues unique to successful women. Please email to arrange a consultation in her Manhattan office or inquire about remote/distance sessions using Skype.

Kimberly completed her graduate studies at New York University and has advanced post-graduate psychotherapy certificates from New York University in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and has also received advanced EMDRIA approved EMDR training for trauma resolution as well as specialized training in BrainspottingCognitive-Behavioral Therapy CBTAcceptance and Commitment Therapy ACT,  Dialectical Behavior Therapy DBT Therapy,  MindfulnessNon-Violent Communication (NVC) and studied Life Coaching with ILCT. In her work with couples, she applies the principles of Emotionally Focused Therapy EFT and her relationship training from The Gottman Institute. If you’re a social media enthusiast, you can find Kim Seelbrede on TwitterFacebookLinkedin,Google+Instagram and  Pinterest

About Depression Therapy

Posted on August 1, 2013

man face artistic drawing illustrationPeople experience depression for many reasons and can be helped with a variety of treatments. Depression is a common condition, and according to NAMI, 25-30 million Americans suffer from depression. Generally, people who experience depression report feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, body aches and pains, low energy, and a lack of pleasure in daily activities and life. Everything may feel very difficult for the sufferer.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), symptoms of depression may include the following:

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

According to the Mayo Clinic, depression symptoms in children and teens can be different than they are in adults…

  • In younger children, symptoms of depression may include sadness, irritability, hopelessness and worry
  • Symptoms in adolescents and teens may include anxiety, anger and avoidance of social interaction
  • Changes in thinking and sleep are common signs of depression in adolescents and adults but are not as common in younger children
  • In children and teens, depression often occurs along with behavior problems and other mental health conditions, such as anxiety or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Schoolwork may suffer in children who are depressed

There are many different types of depression including:

  • Major depression or clinical depression can prevent individuals from functioning normally. An episode of clinical depression may occur only once in a person’s lifetime. More often though, it recurs throughout a person’s life. One of the symptoms must be either depressed mood or loss of interest in the usual activities. Also, the depressive symptoms must cause clinically significant distress or impairment in functioning.
  • Dysthymia (chronic low-grade depression) is characterized by a long-term (two years or more) depressed mood. The symptoms present are similar, but not enough for a diagnosis of major depression and is less disabling for the sufferer.
  • Seasonal affective disorder,  seasonal depression or SAD, is a depression that occurs each year at the same time. It usually begins  in the fall or winter and ends in spring or early summer. Less frequently, SAD occurs as “summer depression,” which begins in the late spring or early summer and ends in fall.
  • Bipolar is a complex mood disorder that alternates between periods of clinical depression and episodes of elation or mania. There are two subtypes of bipolar disorder. Bipolar I is characterized by patients having a history of at least one manic episode with or without major depressive episodes. Bipolar II disorder is characterized by patients having a history of at least one episode of major depression and at least one hypomanic (less severe, only mildly elated) episode.
  • Postpartum depression is diagnosed when a new mother develops a major depressive episode within one month after delivery and is more severe than the “baby blues” which affects nearly 75% of new moms. Hormonal factors and the abrupt drop in hormones unique to women post-delivery are likely to contribute to depression following childbirth. Hormones directly affect the brain chemistry that controls emotions and mood, and women are at greater risk of depression at certain times in their lives such as before their period, throughout puberty, during and after pregnancy, during perimenopause and after menopause.
  • Atypical depression differs from other types of depression. Symptoms include increased hunger, weight gain, over sleeping, a sensation of heavy arms and legs and mood that fluctuates in response to situations and interpersonal experiences.
  • Psychotic depression involves symptoms of psychosis such as delusional thoughts or hallucinations that accompany the symptoms of depression.
  • Adjustment disorder is a type of stress-related mental illness. Symptoms include feeling anxious or depressed and possibly suicidal, and develop within 3 months of an event and are more severe than expected. In addition to somatic complaints and feelings of sadness and hopelessness, suffers may withdraw from people and experience impulsive and self-destructive behaviors.

Depression may develop in response to significant life events, such as a change in marital status, death of a family member or friend, or career and financial difficulties. People who are trying to manage chronic illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, pain, kidney disease, arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS or Parkinson’s disease may also experience depression.

Some common mental health conditions may co-occur with depression and include: anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, social phobia, and generalized anxiety disorder and alcohol and substance abuse. No two people experience depression in exactly the same way. Depression for the sufferer often feels overwhelming and can be a challenge to live with, but there are excellent treatment options available. You don’t have to be alone with your depression, and there is no shame in asking for help.

What are some effective treatment options for depression?

Interpersonal Therapy

In my private practice, I use a form of treatment called interpersonal psychotherapy. Interpersonal therapy for depression puts emphasis on the way symptoms are related to a person’s relationships, including family and friends. This type of therapy focuses on the relationships in your life and how they can contribute to your symptoms of depression. This relatively short-term therapy helps patients improve the relationships in their lives in order to relieve the potential causes of depression. If social problems are occurring they are explored in depth.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Research is clear that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is extremely effective in helping with depression. CBT is a technique that targets thoughts and actions. During sessions, you and your therapist work to develop and understand unhelpful thought patterns and behavioral habits that contribute to depression. CBT then focuses on helping you practice the desired changes in both your thoughts and behavior in order to form a new and healthier habits. If social problems are occurring they are addressed as well. CBT is evidence-based, and known to be a fast and effective treatment to help people manage life in more effective ways.

Mindfulness Meditation

Many are open to using mindfulness meditation to facilitate the healing process. Mindfulness provides a way of working with emotions at a very deep level. Mindfulness helps people pay attention to the “here and now” and helps individuals become aware of their negative, distorted thoughts such as “I can’t do anything right” and learn to acknowledge them, without judgment, with the realization that these thoughts are not accurate reflections of reality. This helps individuals begin to view their thoughts as less powerful. The experience of “learning to observe thoughts” ultimately leads to distorted thoughts having less weight as people master the practice of mindfulness. I work with other forms of meditation in addition to mindfulness meditation, and have found meditation to be a very helpful adjunct to traditional psychotherapy.

EMDR Therapy

Sometimes, deeply-held beliefs may interfere or block successful depression treatment. The experience of trauma can leave us with dysfunctional beliefs about ourselves. Some examples include:  “I’m worthless,” “It’s all my fault,” “the world is cruel” and “I don’t deserve to be happy.” Such beliefs can easily lead to depression as well as anger, shame, grief, guilt, anxiety, compulsive overeating, self-sabotage, hopelessness and helplessness, fear of success and/or failure, patterns of victimization and fear of closeness or abandonment. EMDR can successfully remove these blocking beliefs about the self and the world.  EMDR is then used to “install” positive, helpful and accurate beliefs about the self and world. Often, removing the “interference” of blocking beliefs allows individuals suffering from depression to begin to allow other forms of treatment to work.

Whether you are interested in CBT, DBT skills, EMDR therapy, meditation, interpersonal or expressive talk therapy for depression,  I have successfully treated a wide range of clients with depression, from moderate to severe, and collaborate with other mental health professionals such as psychiatrists if medication is needed. Many of my patients are successful executives and creative individuals who struggle with depressive symptoms. If depression is interfering with your life, it is important to work with a mental health provider.

Depression Information from the National Institute of Mental Health

Kimberly Seelbrede is a New York City PsychotherapistConsultantEMDR Therapist and Life Coach who specializes in an integrative approach to psychotherapy and coaching, working with adults, adolescents and couples. Kimberly is trained to collaborate with you in developing the insight, self-awareness and coping skills to address many concerns including: relationship, marital difficulties and interpersonal issues, anxiety, depression, panic disorder, obsessions, phobias, self-esteem, self-harm, ADD/ADHD, social difficulties, adolescent challenges, underachievement, perfectionism, identity and sexuality concerns, addictions, compulsions, PTSD, trauma, transitions, bereavement/loss, performance problems, life balance, stress reduction, self-care, women’s issues, purpose, spirituality, recovery support and meditation and mindfulness training. Kimberly specializes in working with high-profile, creative and talented individuals as well as issues unique to successful women. Please email to arrange a consultation in her Manhattan office or inquire about remote/distance sessions using Skype.

Kimberly completed her graduate studies at New York University and has advanced post-graduate psychotherapy certificates from New York University in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and has also received advanced EMDRIA approved EMDR training for trauma resolution as well as specialized training in BrainspottingCognitive-Behavioral Therapy CBTAcceptance and Commitment Therapy ACT,  Dialectical Behavior Therapy DBT Therapy,  MindfulnessNon-Violent Communication (NVC) and studied Life Coaching with ILCT. In her work with couples, she applies the principles of Emotionally Focused Therapy EFT and her relationship training from The Gottman Institute. If you’re a social media enthusiast, you can find Kim Seelbrede on TwitterFacebookLinkedin,Google+Instagram and  Pinterest

 

Mindfulness in Every Bite

Posted on February 26, 2012

Buddha's eyesIf you or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, you’ve completed ED treatment or are open to getting help, the practice of Mindfulness may be a supportive, healing addition to your recovery process. Mindfulness is being used by many in the mental health field including eating disorder treatment centers, rehabs, therapists, psychologists and MD’s to treat physical and emotional symptoms including: anxiety, stress, depression, chronic pain, borderline personality disorder (BPD) and addictions and substance abuse. Therapists who work with complicated disorders such as ED’s using psychotherapy find that patients often show an incomplete response to treatment and greatly benefit from additional techniques to provide support, healthier coping skills, and ultimately symptom relief. Mindfulness is one such technique that can be skillfully and successfully integrated into therapy sessions with clients.

Eating disorders are associated with significant distress including anxiety symptoms, mood disturbance, substance abuse, and physical complications. The most widely researched treatments for eating disorders are based on cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and interpersonal therapy, which all have strong empirical support for success in the treatment of Binge Eating Disorder (BED) and Bulimia Nervosa (BN). Mindfulness-based interventions are well-suited to address disordered eating, particularly Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder, as a stand alone treatment or an adjunct to other forms of ED treatments.

What exactly is mindfulness and how can it help? The practice of mindfulness provides individuals with a heightened ability to simply “have” and “observe” emotions, feelings, behaviors and experiences and to disengage from habitual, automatic and often dysfunctional reactivity.  The result is a more balanced sense of self which allows the practitioner to develop a healthier “accepting” relationship to their emotions, bodies and their eating. Individuals become more mindful of the enjoyment and satisfaction that can be obtained from the quality of food, rather than the quantity.  They learn that food should not be feared or hated, and that eating and meal time can and should be nourishing and joyful. To learn more about how to practice mindfulness visit DukeHealth.org and enjoy these articles from The New York Times Mindful Eating as Food for Thought and The Wall Street Journal Putting an End to Mindless Munching

Practice acceptance, try compassion and change what you can. Take care, KS

Kimberly Seelbrede is a New York City PsychotherapistConsultantEMDR Therapist and Life Coach who specializes in an integrative approach to psychotherapy and coaching, working with adults, adolescents and couples. Kimberly is trained to collaborate with you in developing the insight, self-awareness and coping skills to address many concerns including: relationship, marital difficulties and interpersonal issues, anxiety, depression, panic disorder, obsessions, phobias, self-esteem, self-harm, ADD/ADHD, social difficulties, adolescent challenges, underachievement, perfectionism, identity and sexuality concerns, addictions, compulsions, PTSD, trauma, transitions, bereavement/loss, performance problems, life balance, stress reduction, self-care, women’s issues, purpose, spirituality, recovery support and meditation and mindfulness training. Kimberly specializes in working with high-profile, creative and talented individuals as well as issues unique to successful women. Please email to arrange a consultation in her Manhattan office or inquire about remote/distance sessions using Skype.

Kimberly completed her graduate studies at New York University and has advanced post-graduate psychotherapy certificates from New York University in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and has also received advanced EMDRIA approved EMDR training for trauma resolution as well as specialized training in BrainspottingCognitive-Behavioral Therapy CBTAcceptance and Commitment Therapy ACT,  Dialectical Behavior Therapy DBT Therapy,  MindfulnessNon-Violent Communication (NVC) and studied Life Coaching with ILCT. In her work with couples, she applies the principles of Emotionally Focused Therapy EFT and her relationship training from The Gottman Institute. If you’re a social media enthusiast, you can find Kim Seelbrede on TwitterFacebookLinkedin,Google+Instagram and Pinterest

Light Therapy For Seasonal Affective Disorder Or SAD

Posted on September 16, 2011

Nature-38More than 8 million people live in New York City and some of them are SAD, all winter long.  As the October leaves begin to change and glide from their branches, the days become increasingly shorter and darker. This is when many people begin to feel the nudge of Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. This is the season when many seek the help of a mental health professional such as a psychotherapist or psychologist. Yes, the holidays ignite issues for people such as loss and family conflicts, but for many, the depression and lethargy are the result of insufficient sunlight. To make matters worse, many of us leave for work early in the morning when it is dark, have lunch in the conference room and return home in the evening.  Some never see the light of day and office lighting is never a replacement for natural light.

So what is SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder? According to the Mayo Clinic, SAD is “a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year.” Symptoms of SAD include depression, hopelessness, anxiety, loss of energy, social withdrawal, appetite and sleep changes, disinterest in sex, immune system suppression and lack of interest in normal activities.

How can you differentiate SAD from other types of depression? Symptoms of SAD tend to come back year after year (Fall), with mood and energy levels returning to normal when the season ends (Spring). There is a pattern to the dips in mood and energy that people experience seasonally. Friends and family may notice changes in loved ones, and those with a biological relative diagnosed with SAD are more vulnerable to developing the disorder. It is important to note that changes in mood are not necessarily connected to situations (the loss of a job, or a disruption in a relationship would make anyone sad during the winter, for example).

What causes SAD? The 24-hour sleep-wake cycle also known as the circadian rhythm, is controlled by the regular rise and fall of hormones, especially melatonin. Melatonin is known as the master sleep hormone and is produced in the pineal gland. Our overall pattern of sleep-wake depends on the proper functioning of the internal circadian clock, which lies deep in the brain. This circadian clock works in concert with photosensors in the eyes to sense darkness. At night, the body begins to secrete melatonin, which is one of the natural factors that cause sleep. Melatonin continues to be secreted throughout the night. As the sun rises, melatonin secretion slows and the wake cycle begins. According to research, people with SAD, like those with most other types of depression may have low levels of neurotransmitters, including serotonin (a precursor to melatonin) dopamine and acetylcholine. Some research suggests that the change in serotonin levels may result from reduced levels of vitamin D (which we get from sun exposure).

What kind of help is available if you suffer from SAD? If any of the symptoms listed above seem familiar to you, and they tend to occur during the darker months of the year then you may need seasonal help.  There are a number of options and what is best for you may depend on the severity of your symptoms and your particular situation. Recommended treatments include working with a therapist, medication and/or light therapy and lifestyle changes that support health, hormones and mood.  Some examples are as follows:

  • Psychotherapy to help you identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors, as well as help you develop healthy ways to cope with seasonal affective disorder symptoms such as depression, anxiety and stress.
  • Antidepressant medications may be prescribed to treat SAD, particularly if symptoms are severe.  See your medical doctor or a psychiatrist to discuss medication as an option.
  • Light therapy (or phototherapy) involves using a special light box to mimic outdoor light.  Some insurance companies will cover the cost of purchasing a light therapy lamp. It’s very important to have medical supervision when using light therapy.
  • Get sunlight on your lunch hour by going for a walk.
  • Keep window treatments open and sit closer to the windows if possible.
  • Make sure you are exercising regularly and eat a balanced diet with plenty of omega-3 fatty acids for mood support.
  • Supplement your diet with vitamin D3 to make up for inadequate or inconsistent sunlight.
  • Consider adding mood-boosting activities such as yoga, meditation, acupuncture and massage therapy.

*Individuals who wish to begin light therapy should do so under medical supervision as light therapy may trigger hypomania or mania in some people with undiagnosed or diagnosed bipolar disorder. As an important precaution, patients with Bipolar I disorder who use light for depressed cycles are at risk for switching to full-blown manic episodes and should be on a mood-stabilizing drug while using light therapy.

More about full-spectrum lamps:

Light therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder and circadian-rhythm disorders involves sending visible light through the eyes so that it reaches, and triggers, the pineal gland. The sun is the ultimate source of full-spectrum light, which means it contains the spectrum of light, from infrared to ultraviolet. Generally speaking light therapy involves the use of equipment that sheds either full spectrum or bright white light.  In most cases, the purpose of light therapy is to increase the amount of light to which we would otherwise be exposed. Bright light therapy consists of looking at special broad spectrum lamp, generally in the early morning hours. One should not stare directly into the lights because of possible eye damage. One popular brand isVerilux many other light boxes can be found on Amazon.

What is Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder or Summer Depression? Rarely, some individuals experience summer depression which is an annual relapse of symptoms that occurs in the summer rather than winter. During that period, the depression is more likely to be characterized by insomnia, decreased appetite, weight loss, and agitation or anxiety. Patients with such “reverse SAD” may benefit from the use of an antidepressant combined with a mood stabilizer. In still fewer cases, a patient may experience both winter and summer depressions, while feeling fine each Fall and Spring, around the equinoxes.

Helpful information from the Center for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms – Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University:

The Center for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms is a unique clinical program in the United States, with its coordinated focus on circadian rhythm, mood and sleep disturbances.

  • Establish normal sleep onset time for people who cannot fall asleep until it is too late, or have trouble waking up because of fragmented sleep
  • Relieve winter depression (seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, or the milder winter doldrums or winter blues)
  • Alleviate symptoms of unipolar and bipolar depression, whether or not the depression is seasonal
  • Increase daytime alertness and reduce slumping in the afternoon and evening
  • Substitute light therapy for drugs during pregnancy
  • Improve cognitive performance, mood and sleep in adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Work effectively when drugs have not worked, worked only partially, or cannot be tolerated
  • Work effectively in conjunction with antidepressants and mood stabilizers

Outpatient services begin with an extended diagnostic evaluation session in which an individualized treatment regimen is generated to follow at home. Over six weeks, we actively monitor progress and, if necessary, hone the treatment regimen to achieve maximal response. Many of our patients are referred by their primary mental health provider. In those cases, we work as a team to coordinate treatment. We work with outpatients across the country and abroad as long as they can visit New York for the evaluation workup. The Center also offers services to inpatients at Columbia University Medical Center.

More Resources:

Light Therapy for Depression - New York Times Health Blog

Hear about Dr. Terman’s research on National Public Radio.

Department of Psychiatry – Columbia University Center for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms

1051 Riverside Drive, Unit 50, New York, NY 10032,  email at: doctors@columbia-chronotherapy.org

http://www.nami.org/Content/ContentGroups/Helpline1/Seasonal_Affective_Disorder_(SAD).htm

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/seasonal-affective-disorder/DS00195

Kimberly Seelbrede is a New York City PsychotherapistConsultantEMDR Therapist and Life Coach who specializes in an integrative approach to psychotherapy and coaching, working with adults, adolescents and couples. Kimberly is trained to collaborate with you in developing the insight, self-awareness and coping skills to address many concerns including: relationship, marital difficulties and interpersonal issues, anxiety, depression, panic disorder, obsessions, phobias, self-esteem, self-harm, ADD/ADHD, social difficulties, adolescent challenges, underachievement, perfectionism, identity and sexuality concerns, addictions, compulsions, PTSD, trauma, transitions, bereavement/loss, performance problems, life balance, stress reduction, self-care, women’s issues, purpose, spirituality, recovery support and meditation and mindfulness training. Kimberly specializes in working with high-profile, creative and talented individuals as well as issues unique to successful women. Please email to arrange a consultation in her Manhattan office or inquire about remote/distance sessions using Skype.

Kimberly completed her graduate studies at New York University and has advanced post-graduate psychotherapy certificates from New York University in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and has also received advanced EMDRIA approved EMDR training for trauma resolution as well as specialized training in BrainspottingCognitive-Behavioral Therapy CBTAcceptance and Commitment Therapy ACT,  Dialectical Behavior Therapy DBT Therapy,  MindfulnessNon-Violent Communication (NVC) and studied Life Coaching with ILCT. In her work with couples, she applies the principles of Emotionally Focused Therapy EFT and her relationship training from The Gottman Institute. If you’re a social media enthusiast, you can find Kim Seelbrede on TwitterFacebookLinkedin,Google+Instagram and  Pinterest