Mental Health In The Winter Months: Tips About Seasonal Affective Disorder

The winter blues may not seem like such a big deal, but for some people the cold weather and short days of winter pose a constant problem. The proper name for ongoing seasonal depression is seasonal affective disorder or SAD. Some people suffer from SAD for months on end, particularly in areas where sunny days are limited in fall and winter months. Anyone suffering from SAD living in the northeast should know there are New Jersey Mental Health centers that help people deal with seasonal affective disorder specifically.

Causes of SAD

Seasonal affective disorder is caused by a lack of sunlight during the fall and winter months, though a small percentage of SAD sufferers experience symptoms with the onset of summer. Decreased sunlight can lead to a disruption of one's circadian rhythms, which in turn interferes with sleep patterns. It may also lower serotonin and melatonin levels in the body, which can result in mood swings, changes in appetite, and even depression. Other symptoms of SAD include anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, oversleeping, weight gain, and trouble concentrating.

Managing SAD and Its Symptoms

Seeing a specialist in mental health in New Jersey, or wherever the SAD sufferer happens to live, is a good first step towards managing this disorder. SAD sufferers should know the practitioner providing care for their mental health in New Jersey or elsewhere may prescribe medication to treat their symptoms. Those dealing with depression should be sure to stick with their course of treatment to combat the effects of SAD.

Since a lack of sunlight is typically at the root of the problem, exposing the body to additional light throughout the fall and winter can make quite a difference. A simple solution is to keep blinds and curtains open during daylight hours, and to spend time outside on sunny days. Sunless days can be made brighter with a sun lamp designed especially for counteracting the effects of SAD. People with SAD far from the equator often break up the winter by vacationing in a warm, sunny location to make up for some of the sun they are missing. As with any form of depression, the symptoms of SAD can be lessened with regular exercise and a healthy diet as well.

There is a range of alternative remedies recommended for SAD. St. John's wort is often used for depression in general and may work for people with SAD in particular. Other supplements, like SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine), are supposed to help replace the chemicals that naturally decrease during the short days of winter. Those considering treating SAD this way should check with their health care provider first.

Finding Mental Health Resources

Anyone who thinks they may be suffering from SAD should contact a mental health care provider right away. Residents of NJ should be able to find a New Jersey Mental Health facility that can help SAD sufferers make positive and effective changes in their lives.

The Family Guide to Bipolar Disorder: New Jersey

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that commonly affects both men and women. Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that affects a person’s mood and energy. It typically develops in a person during his late teens or early adulthood, but can even begin in small children. In kids, bipolar symptoms are often expressed by intense emotional states that are either overly excited states, or depressive states. The good news for the families of people suffering from bipolar disorder is that there are treatment options. For people living in New Jersey,mental health options are available with Capitol Care.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, over half of those with bipolar disorder have cases that started before the age of 25. Although this disorder begins in many children, the severity of the symptoms, often do not come out until a person is an adult. Symptoms of bipolar disorder vary based on the person, age and severity of the disorder. For some children, bipolar comes out in the form of acting overly silly, having an extremely short temper, being extremely sad for a long period of time, losing interest in normal activities and feeling worthless. Numerous behavioral changes also occur with bipolar, such as feeling tired, having trouble focusing, complaining about body aches, losing or gaining a lot of weight, feeling a loss of energy and experiencing suicidal thoughts. As a person ages, the symptoms generally worsen. Adults with bipolar disorder typically have problems performing normal daily tasks. With treatment, however, people with this disorder are often able to carry on normal, productive lives.

People, who suspect that a loved one has this, should seek help from experts. Capitol Care is an organization that specializes in treating New Jersey residents with bipolar. This organization focuses on diagnosing behavioral health issues and other mental illnesses, and treating it. They offer numerous locations all throughout the state, making it convenient for all residents of New Jersey.

Capitol Care takes a different approach for treatment and recovery for people diagnosed with bipolar disorder. They have helped many people over the years, and have a great percentage of success. This organization’s philosophy focuses on the lifelong recovery journey of the individuals who they help. They take each case on an individual basis, and realize that no two cases are identical. Capitol Care believes in four core beliefs: informed choice, empowerment, inclusion is the right of all people and responsive and flexible supports with outcomes.

Living with someone with bipolar disorder is extremely stressful, and many people cannot do it alone. It is not only difficult for the person suffering; it is difficult for other family members as well and can cause strain on a family. Capitol Care understands how difficult this is, and they are there to help. They have a tremendous amount of experience with this, and are trained to use medical and clinical methods for diagnosing and treating people with this. 

Non- Prescription Plan For Managing Bipolar Disorder

There's no shortage of medical interventions to choose from when it comes to managing Bipolar Disorders.  Taking medication is the key to reducing the frequency and severity of mood episodes, but it is not the only treatment option. Bipolar medications are most effective when used in conjunction with therapy and healthy lifestyle choices, including diet, exercise, and developing a social support network. These factors can affect the amount of medication required and play an important role in managing symptoms of mania and depression without causing intolerable side effects.

NJ Behavioral Health provider Capitol Care believes in integrating non-prescription drug ways to cope with Bipolar Disorders into a treatment plan.  Behavioral therapy and counseling have proven to be effective methods for managing Bipolar disorder, particularly if they're provided by trained and qualified mental health care professionals.  In addition, by taking a team approach to mental health therapy - one that includes teachers, parents, social workers, and psychiatrists or psychologists - families have seen great results in loved ones with Bipolar Disorder.  Other successful therapies involve parenting skills training, social skills training, family therapy, and support groups.

This form of non-medical treatment is at the heart of the types of services offered by Capitol Care.  Its team of professionals is committed to safely providing positive and supportive quality care to adults with Bipolar Disorder and their families.  Instead of taking a cookie-cutter approach to therapy, offering the same types of services to everyone, the counselors take a more individualized approach that empowers each patient to reach his or her highest capabilities.  In particular, the program relies on the individual's existing support system to make it more effective. 

Patients come to Capitol Care through one of many types of referrals, including inpatient providers, outpatient therapists, or friends and family.  Following an initial assessment, an individualized program is put together by a team that includes an intake coordinator, program director, case manager, Board-certified psychiatrist, and group facilitator.

Each program is tailored to meet the specific needs of the individual and draws from a broad range of services, including recreational activities, prevocational management, clinical group processes, and psychiatric management.  The goal of the program is to meet the distinct and complex needs of each individual in a way that addresses their psychiatric and behavioral issues and enables them to lead full, productive lives over the long term.

Patients may participate in a number of activities, including

•Individual Counseling
•Creative arts groups
•Recreational activities
•Wellness and recovery

Capitol Care is an inpatient and outpatient NJ facility that accepts Medicaid payments and has been recognized by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.

For more information about this unique treatment paradigm, or to refer a friend or family member, please call  Capitol Care at (973) 426-1440, email, or visit the website at