What is Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD?

The leaves are already falling, mornings are cooler, and it is dark earlier. That can mean only one thing; Fall and winter are approaching.

Some people are energized by the fall and look forward to winter sports, hot chocolate, and warm evenings by a fire. Others dread the seasons of shorter days and harsh weather. Some may even say it is gloomy and intolerable; that it is downright depressing and puts them in a grumpy mood.

2020 (what a year!) brings with it much more than shorter days, moodiness, and bad weather. We are in the middle of a pandemic with the threat of an even heavier resurgence of COVID 19. As if Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is not enough, some of us will be dealing with the high anxiety of a worrisome flu year.

If SAD has already been a part of your life, this flu season and a pandemic may only make things feel worse. The isolation of inclement weather may be accentuated by not being outdoors or with neighbors, friends and family for long stretches of time. Indoor confinement and true social isolation bring about unexpected levels of depression, anger, and anxiety.

There is hope!

You know the season is coming. Preparation will be the key to a SAD strategy. Be proactive! Here are some ideas for a personal attack against SAD:

Journal: Stay connected to your feelings and start now! If you see yourself starting to fade into sadness, make social connections, exercise, or begin a routine of reading motivational books and quotes.

Spend some money: Not on just anything! Consider buying a SAD therapeutic light. Many find this makes a big difference for them.

Get outside: Bundle up and get out there. Maybe someone in your neighborhood could use a walk-buddy! Even putting on warm clothes and sitting outside on your deck could help.

LAUGH: Look for funny movies or YouTube videos that make you laugh. Laughter is a big healer!

Help someone: Make a point of helping someone else who is struggling. Get out of your own thoughts by reaching out. Helping others helps us.

Get help now: Start talking to a therapist who can help you get on top of SAD; before it even really starts. A therapist will be able to help you become more self-aware and support you during the tougher days.

Connect: Many churches are providing virtual meetings and services. It is a great way to learn and grow spiritually. Many church groups also provide shut-in support and support is almost always free to all.

Know the warning signs. Here are some ways you may be able to recognize SAD:

  • More sleeping than usual at many times of the day.
  • Overeating and eating foods that are not usual for you (e.g. sweets and carbs).
  • Disinterest in hobbies.
  • Lack of desire to do much of anything.
  • Frustration over little things; or downright anger.
  • Overall stretches of sadness that are hard to get through.

This pandemic has intensified many psychiatric disorders for many people. You are not alone if you are feeling less well emotionally.

You also have Lake Behavioral Hospital 24/7/365. By walk-in, appointment, or just give us call, your Lake Behavioral Assessment and Referral team will help support you when you feel like SAD or any other mental health concern is just too much to bear. A level of care assessment provided by our licensed professionals will determine what level of treatment is best to move you toward improved mental health. To learn more or to get the help you need right now call: 855-990-1900.

Suicide Prevention is Possible

People who are feeling suicidal are often dealing with feelings or situations so intense, there seems to be no other way out. The truth is most feelings and most situations, no matter how distressing, will pass in time. Many who express a desire to die are overwhelmed. Given a chance to have a good listener by their side who will not only listen, but make that important referral for professional help, there is an opportunity to make a life-saving difference.

Prevention means being informed and being able to recognize the signs of suicide. These can include:

  • Talking about death or suicide
  • Feeling hopeless, helpless, or worthless
  • Feeling like he/she is a burden to others
  • Withdrawal from friends, family, or social activities
  • Moodiness, or an increase in sadness, or even anger
  • Finding ways to say goodbye
  • Giving away loved possessions

If your friend or a family member talks about suicide, take every threat seriously. Spoken threats are often ways to ask for help. The person speaking may just need someone to reach out in a non-judgmental way. He/She may be in emotional pain that is so severe, that although they do not really want to die, there is no way to express the intensity of their feelings.

Don’t be afraid to ask, “Are you thinking about suicide?” This question is important to understanding what they are really thinking. Don’t worry. Research shows that asking the question will not cause someone to consider suicide. In fact, people are often relieved the question has been asked and they can freely talk about their feelings. Please don’t leave anyone alone who may be suicidal. Never keep suicide threats a secret.

One of the most important ways to prevent suicide is to seek professional help. Know your community. A call to the National Suicide Hot Line at 1 800 273 TALK (8255) can make a difference and save a life.

And, of course, call upon the skilled professionals at Lake Behavioral Hospital to provide help. We are available 24/7/365 to offer caring support for those in a mental health crisis. Call 855 990 1900.

Lake Behavioral Hospital is a proud sponsor of the Lake County Suicide Prevention Task Force Suicide Prevention Walk on September 19, 2020. We hope to see you there.

Summertime is Here!

July 4th, picnics, and outdoor gatherings are earmarks of summertime. This means being with people that we care about. Quarantining during COVID-19 among small family groups may mean that we haven’t seen our friends and other family members for some time. This is something we all need, to connect with others. Getting together during a pandemic, requires us to wear masks and to practice social distancing. How unnatural it seems not to hug our friends or family in greeting or not even be able to see a shared smile because of a mask. Socialization is important for our self-esteem. When we feel more supported, we are happier and mentally healthier. This summer may mean finding ways to be socially distant and safe, but stay connected.

 

Here are five tips to help you stay connected:

  1. If you can’t have a picnic or party, send some picnic items to friends or family to put a smile on their face!
  2. Decorate your front yard or doorstep for a drive by experience and give special treats to people who are special to you.
  3. Although July 4th– and summer- are not “card” holidays, send greeting cards to those you won’t see this year.
  4. Make your small family gatherings fun with special games or conversation starters.
  5. Get creative and host a virtual party with Zoom or another online platform.

 

Being creative during these uncertain times can help alleviate stress and anxiety. If at any time, these feelings overwhelm you or a loved one, Lake Behavioral can help.

We offer free assessments 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 855-990-1900 or visiting us at 2615 Washington Street in Waukegan, IL.

Lake Behavioral Celebrates Pride

June is Pride Month and Lake Behavioral Hospital is proud to celebrate and support the LGBTQ community. We also understand the unique challenges and needs they face related to mental health and access to treatment. Studies show that individuals who identify as LGBTQ are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, and other mental health conditions. LGBTQ individuals also experience more trauma and other impactful adverse life experiences due to stigma and discrimination, which can trigger or exacerbate mental health conditions.

Stigma can create conditions under which LGBTQ-identifying people need to seek mental health care. It can also hinder their ability to access the care and treatment they need. Surveys indicate that more than half of LGBTQ respondents have experienced healthcare providers denying care, using harsh language, or blaming their sexual orientation or gender identity as the cause for an illness. As a result, many individuals avoid or delay seeking treatment and withhold information from health care providers due to fear of discrimination or disrespect.

Our team at Lake Behavioral Hospital knows that when people can be themselves, believe in themselves, and be proud of who they are that they are genuinely more mentally healthy. We can only influence health if we continue to educate ourselves and be sensitive to the individual needs of the people we serve. Every day our treatment team seeks to help and serve those on their journey to self-acceptance and self-pride.

Lake Behavioral Hospital is an inclusive environment. During Pride Month, we want to say thank you to those within the LGBTQ community who pave the way every day. You have shown pride as you have made it clear that it is the strength of our character, the way we treat others, and our sense of hope that is the foundation for authenticity.

Lake Behavioral Hospital offers support on both an inpatient and outpatient setting for adolescents, adults, and senior adults.

Free assessments are offered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 855-990-1900.

New Lake Behavioral Hospital Now Open

Waukegan Mayor Tours Brand New Lake Behavioral Hospital

When Mother’s Day is Difficult

Holidays are often filled with joy and love, but they can also be challenging. Mother’s Day can be a particularly complicated holiday. For many it a celebration of gratitude and appreciation, but it can also bring feelings of grief and sadness, especially for those who have lost a mother or a child.

During this time of physical distancing due to COVID-19, the grief of losing a mother or child can be compounded by feeling isolated from social supports and being unable to utilize coping strategies that involve being in public spaces.

Here are some tips on how to cope with grief on Mother’s Day:

  • Share memories, or engage in an activity or tradition that honors the person you lost.
  • Reach out to supportive people. Call, text, or schedule a video chat.
  • Write about your feelings, or write a letter to the person you lost.
  • Acknowledge and honor your feelings. Pain is personal and everyone has their own way of grieving.

Holidays can trigger symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Lake Behavioral Hospital offers a full continuum of care for the treatment of mental health conditions. With the expansion of our physical space, Lake Behavioral Hospital is now able to offer new modalities and treatment tracks to meet the needs of our community. These additional services will include an individualized trauma-focused treatment track for women.

If someone you know is grieving a loss, it is important to check on them, even if it’s just to say hello. With the increase in deaths due to COVID-19, people are experiencing loss collectively worldwide. It is helpful to know that we are not alone in our grief and anxiety.

If you or someone you care about is experiencing mental health challenges during this time, Lake Behavioral Hospital can help. Call us at 855-990-1900.

Opening Day is Fast Approaching

Teens & the Reality of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has been emotionally devastating for adults, but the full impact on teenagers may be worse.

Today’s adolescents have their fair share of challenges—navigating social media, online bullying, social pressures to partake in drugs and alcohol. All of these are enhanced by the enforced social isolation and cancellation of in person school.

Teens have lost their social outlets and support systems outside of their immediate families. School sports, prom, and traditional graduation ceremonies have been cancelled. They may find coping with this sudden loss difficult, because they will never get to do those things. School may have also been a safe space for an adolescent or teen with an unstable home life.

Teenagers and young adults have developmental motivations that make them hard to isolate at home. The physical and chemical changes that take place during this time make young people highly attuned to social status and peer group.

Schools have rushed to implement online learning with varying degrees of success. Teens now find themselves with a lot of down time. Without hours and hours of daily structure, teens are left to fill virtually the entire day alone. Technology provides a temporary respite, but may not be a long-term solution.

Parents should set aside time to truly listen to their children’s frustrations. Showing empathy and validating their feelings will help teens cope. Parents should ask how they can support them through this time.

When these feelings and emotions disrupt your teen’s ability to complete schoolwork or assigned responsibilities at home, it may be time to seek additional help.

Lake Behavioral Hospital specializes in adolescent mental health treatment. No cost assessments are offered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A licensed mental health professional will recommend the right treatment for your teen, whether it’s an inpatient stay or outpatient program.

Call today for more information: (855) 990-1900

Social Isolation & COVID-19

The mental health effects of COVID-19 are just as important to address as are the physical health effects. For many, adjusting to a new way of life can be overwhelming and difficult. This is especially true for those individuals who have a mental health condition or those at risk for developing one.

It is important to adhere to the safety guidelines established by the CDC and local health officials. Social distancing can aggravate mental health symptoms, but social distancing does not have to mean social isolation. Lake Behavioral Hospital has solutions for those needing assistance.

Lake Behavioral uses evidence-based treatment models that are designed to provide treatment with lasting results. The coping mechanisms and education provided by our licensed mental health team can be utilized in these stressful situations to manage your mental health.

Our hospital provides mental health treatment for adolescents, adults, and senior adults in either an outpatient or inpatient setting.

Signs and symptoms to look for:

  • Increased anxiety or depression
  • Thoughts of suicide or self-harm
  • Outbursts of anger
  • Worsening of existing medical conditions
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Difficulty concentrating or completing tasks

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the above symptoms please call Lake Behavioral.

We offer no cost mental health assessments 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These can be done in person or via telehealth. Call today: 855-990-1900.

Lake Behavioral Hospital takes the health and safety of our patients, their families, and our staff very seriously. We have implemented the guidelines established by the CDC and local health officials to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our hospital. Rest assured, your safety is our number one priority.