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Hopewell Ceo Suggests Ways to Deal With Dark Days of Winter; Therapeutic Farm Offers Assessments and Information

Mesopotamia, Ohio, Feb. 11, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Getting through the dark days of winter can, for many, be particularly depressing. Research tells us that the lack of sunlight, along with lots of cold and wintry weather compound the situation. Doctors refer to this condition as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

"If you happen to find that the winter blues are producing more personal distress and anxiety than usual, you are not alone," said Richard R. Karges, Hopewell Executive Director/CEO. "The good news is that these dark days do not have to be the dreaded experience it could be if you take some proactive steps."

Karges offers some things you might consider to help make your winter more enjoyable, meaningful and rewarding. According to Karges, "You can focus on the bright side."

Women, especially those in their twenties, are most susceptible to seasonal affective disorder, but it can affect men and women of all ages, including children and teens. Often people with seasonal depression have at least one close relative with a psychiatric disorder, typically major depressive disorder or alcohol abuse.

Symptoms

SAD symptoms emerge during the darker winter months, then disappear as days grow longer and brighter as spring comes. It's estimated that a half-million people in the United States may have seasonal depression.

Symptoms of SAD include:

· Weight gain. Craving for food leads to excess weight.

· Daytime fatigue. People with SAD are tired during the day. They may also find themselves sleeping a lot, but getting no relief.

· Increased irritability and anxiety. People with SAD worry more and can be easily irritated.

· Social withdrawal. Those with SAD prefer to be alone. They shun the company of friends and family and do not participate in activities they normally enjoy.

Treatments

SAD is treatable, and there are various treatment methods.

· Light therapy offers some effectiveness. Light therapy boxes are available to imitate the outdoors. You can buy them without a prescription, but they can be costly. The best time to use light therapy is in the morning. Typically, light therapy takes about 30 minutes a day.

· Seek a clinician who can coach you through these dark days and figure out if it is indeed SAD or a life changing event such as death in the family that is the true cause of depression. A medical professional also can prescribe antidepressants, if necessary.

· It is important to find the cause of depression. Make an appointment with a professional who can diagnose SAD or another type of depression. Depression can be caused by past memories or upcoming events. Sometimes we overlook the time of the year in relation to life events.

· The sun does shine in the winter, just not as much. Changing your work schedule or daily routine to make a point of experiencing the sunshine when it does make an appearance can be helpful, as well.

· Why not take a vacation where it's warm and sunny? And, be sure to maintain your relationships with friends and family.

Information and Assessments Available

"Often during the dark days of winter, we reflect on ways to improve our life and the lives of those near and dear to us," said Karges. "As a therapeutic working farm, Hopewell offers numerous programs successfully helping people with mental illness achieve their potential and contribute to society."

Information and assessments are available by contacting Rachael McLaughlin, director of admissions/marketing at 440.426.2009. Visit www.hopewell.cc.

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CONTACT: Ed Stevens, APR+M (440) 617-0100 ext. 201 estevens@stevensstrategic.com Rick Karges Executive Director, Hopewell 440.693.4074 Source:Hopewell