5 Ways to Beat Seasonal Depression
Winter is painted as a happy season of fluffy white snow filled with evenings snuggling in front of a fireplace, days of shredding the slopes, nights of tobogganing and laughs with friends and loved ones over hot toddies. But for some people, the cold, short days can make them feel as though they can’t get out of bed in the morning, their mood as grey and grim as Toronto’s winter sky. If you feel lethargic, your mood has been lower than Mariah Carey’s neckline for more than a couple of weeks, and you’re not being the social butterfly that you are, it may be time to see your doctor. For less severe symptoms of SAD, a few lifestyle changes could make you feel more like yourself again.
It’s fascinating how the things we often worry about can be so out of proportion to the actual danger they represent. Take Ebola. The hysteria here in North America about an outbreak that was concentrated in West Africa was a tad excessive. So I decided I’d share two of the things that I feel my patients worry too much about—and then present two things that actually deserve their concern.
Ten years ago this month I finished my medical training and started working in the real world. While my formal training ended in 2005, the learning continues and sometimes takes me by surprise. For example, it was only after listening to many guys describe their experience with anxiety that I started to recognize some of the symptoms in myself: the frequent racing heart, stomach cramps and flushing that I’d never paid much attention to before. Suddenly these symptoms organized themselves into a recognizable pattern. And only then did I see that I had started to avoid things that triggered these intense and unpleasant feelings.
Thank heavens for “the little blue pill.” Not only did the introduction of Viagra mean men finally had a safe and tolerable option for erectile dysfunction (ED), but it also got people talking about a condition that we were previously too embarrassed to discuss. I’m pleased when men ask me about ED. It’s an opportunity to review safer sex and can actually be a good barometer for overall health.
With modern antiretroviral medications, nearly every HIV-positive man and woman can be successfully treated today. This doesn’t mean that the infection has been eliminated from the body—there will always be stored copies of the virus hidden away—but we can essentially stop any new virus from being produced. This is what we call having an “undetectable viral load.”