Best Advice for People Taking Opioid Medication-Video DocMikeEvans

Please see the video below as it relates to both chronic pain and taking opioid medications. If you have been taking opioid medications do not try to stop taking them on your own (this goes for all prescribed medications).  It is very difficult to taper medication and the gradual discontinuation or reduction of a therapeutic dosage of opioids must be monitored.  If this is something that you are considering, it is possible with the help of a qualified therapist and a family doctor.  I am ready to support you in the journey and have worked with other people just like you suffering from chronic pain, and needing help to reduce or stop opioid medications.  You can click this link to book to book a free consultation or appointment with me today.

Crystal Gerlach RSW RP

Psychotherapy and Clinical Social Work
Anxiety, Depression, Stress, PTSD, Life Transitions, Chronic Pain and more
5063 North Service Road, Suite 200
Burlington, ON L7L 5H6
Direct Line) 905-399-0808
 
“Social Workers. Real Experts for Real Life”

Weather Changes Got You Down?

As summer ends and sunny days turn longer, darker and cooler, some people may notice a slight change in their mood.  You may feel a little “blah” or “blue”, and for most of us this adjustment to the weather is normal.  Over time we settle back into our fall and winter routines of school or work, spending time with family and friends, and holiday planning.  If this is not the case and you find that seasonal changes impact your ability to cope with daily life, you may have a type of clinical depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.  

The Canadian Mental Health Association recognises Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) as “a type of clinical depression that can last until Spring” (2016).  If you think you may have SAD, start by speaking to your doctor or mental health provider.  Therapy techniques such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy have been shown to be very helpful when done with a regulated professional (CMHA, 2016).  Also, light therapy has been found helpful in 70% of people with diagnosed with SAD (MDAO, n.d.)

Cause

Although there is no confirmed cause of SAD, changes in light that regulate our daily rhythms can impact our mood (CMHA, 2016).

Risk

On average, 2%-6% of Canadians will experience SAD in their lifetime and 15% will experience a milder type of SAD (MDAO, n.d.).  Also, SAD tends to impact people over the age of 20 years old, and the condition is more common in women than in men (CMHA, 2016).  SAD is also more common in Northern countries where the winter day is shorter and for those living in urban areas or for shift workers who experience less daytime light at work (CMHA, 2016).

What to look for

  • change in appetite
  • weight gain
  • fatigue
  • a tendency to oversleep
  • difficulty concentrating
  • irritability
  • avoidance of social situations
  • feelings of anxiety and despair (CMHA, 2016)

Treatment

Speak to your doctor or a qualified mental health professional such as a registered social worker or psychotherapist. I offer Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to help cope and manage such symptoms.  In some cases, medication may also be recommended and I will provide a referral for a psychiatrist for you to discuss as required.

Helpful Tips

If you think you have SAD, the first step is to speak with someone.  You may want to write down any changes you have noticed in how you are feeling so you don’t forget once you attend your medical or therapy appointment.  Also, it will be helpful to increase your exposure to daytime light, and you can do this by working near a window where you are exposed to sunlight and getting outside during daytime hours.  Try to stay in a regular routine and pay attention to how much sleep you are getting; for example, is it too much or too little?  Both of these will impact the way you feel.  Exercise is also a fantastic way to help regulate your moods.  You may want to ask a friend or family member to go for a walk, meet for a hike, or join a fitness class.  Lastly, since SAD is a type of clinical depression, it would be helpful to check out some of the other resources listed on the website.

Crystal Gerlach RSW RP

Psychotherapy and Clinical Social Work
Anxiety, Depression, Stress, PTSD, Life Transitions, Chronic Pain and more
5063 North Service Road, Suite 200
Burlington, ON L7L 5H6
Direct Line) 905-399-0808
 
“Social Workers. Real Experts for Real Life”

 

Resources

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).  (2016).  Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Retrieved from http://ontario.cmha.ca/mental_health/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad/#.WBeQmC0rKUl

Mood Disorders Association of Ontario (MDAO).  (n.d.).  Frequently Asked Questions – Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.).  Retrieved from https://www.mooddisorders.ca/faq/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad

Mental Health Apps

I know that for most of us we could spend a little less time on our cell phones. But the truth is that since most of us have our phone with us majority of the time, it can be a helpful tool.

There are quite a few apps available for download on iPhone or android to help you cope with mental health issues from day to day. These resources can help you learn more about symptoms related to mental illness or even provide ideas for activities to help get you going when you are feeling depressed as well as give you an idea of how to start a crisis plan for when you are feeling really unwell. Also, they could provide you with a guided meditation or relaxation techniques if you are feeling anxiety or panic.

Please keep in mind that these apps do not eliminate the need to see a therapist or take medication but can be an important part of self-help and symptom management.

Feel free to try out the apps as listed below and even consider making using them part of your daily wellness routine.

Crystal Gerlach RSW RP

Psychotherapy and Clinical Social Work
Anxiety, Depression, Stress, PTSD, Life Transitions, Chronic Pain and more
5063 North Service Road, Suite 200
Burlington, ON L7L 5H6
Direct Line) 905-399-0808
 
“Social Workers. Real Experts for Real Life”