November 22, 2016

Center for Healthy Living workshop to focus on seasonal affective disorder

The change in season -- falling leaves, cooler temperatures, shorter days resulting in less light -- also can bring about a condition of depression and change in mood known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The Center for Healthy Living on Purdue's West Lafayette campus will offer a workshop from noon to 1 p.m. Dec. 9 focused on seasonal affective disorder and how to manage the condition. The workshop will be led by Lindsey Millburg, licensed social worker at the center.

To register, call 49-45505 by Dec. 8.

SAD is a very common affliction that typically occurs in the fall and lasts throughout the winter months. In addition to the cold temperatures, dark days and bad weather associated with winter, the holidays can increase stress and feelings of depression. 

According to Millburg, being aware of any new or increased symptoms of depression is important. Symptoms of SAD include but are not limited to:

* Overall lack of energy; tiredness; sluggishness.
* Increased susceptibility to illness (significant increase in getting sick with colds or flu).
* Lack of concentration; inability to focus.
* Weight gain.
* Increased feelings of guilt or worry.
* Trouble sleeping.
* Irritability.

“Please be sure you’re not minimizing any symptoms or feelings you have around this type of year as simply a case of the ‘winter blues’ or a seasonal funk that you have to tough out on your own,” Millburg says. “There are a lot of things you can do to help you manage and maintain a steady mood throughout the entire year.”

Millburg shared some tips to consider to help ease the effects of seasonal affective disorder. They are:

* Spend some time outside.
* Exercise.
* Let natural light into homes and work spaces.
* Socialize.
* Plan to do something fun.
* Write down feelings.
* Ask for help.

Millburg encourages individuals to use the Employee Assistance Program at the center for advice and help. To schedule an appointment, call 49-40111 or schedule via the employee portal.

The Employee Assistance Program counselors are available to help all benefits-eligible employees including those who have opted out of Purdue medical coverage. Spouses/same-sex domestic partners and dependents covered on a Purdue health plan also are able to use the services at the center.

LiveHealth Online, a service provided by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield -- Purdue’s medical plan administrator -- also provides psychology services along with acute medical care. LiveHealth Online services are available to all employees and their dependents regardless of their benefits eligibility or if they have opted out of a Purdue health plan. LiveHealth Online psychology offers daytime, evening and weekend counseling appointments via online communication through computer, smart phone or tablet. To get started, simply sign up.

If suicidal thoughts arise, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-TALK [8255] or the nearest emergency room are available for help and evaluation.

The center is open for medical visits 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday. Lab hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

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