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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is seasonal affective disorder?

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  • 2


    Ash Rehn

    Counsellor, Psychotherapist, Sex Therapist, Social Worker

    Mental Health Medicare Provider of focussed psychological strategies, Counsellor & Therapist specialising in ‘sex addiction’, pornography issues, gay counselling, online therapy. For more information: View Profile

    According to BeyondBlue, Seasonal Affective Disorder is actually VERY rare in Australia, and more likely to be found in places with short winter days such as Scandinavia.

    Some medical professionals attribute SAD to the variation in light exposure in different seasons. People who live above a certain latitude, for example, may not be exposed to enough direct sunlight during certain times of the year for their bodies to produce enough Vitamin D, which in turn can affect mood.

    SAD is usually diagnosed when a person has had the same symptoms during winter for two or more years. However if you live in Australia it is possible but unlikely that you are suffering from SAD (unless you never go out of doors.) In any case, you should check with a GP for a diagnosis first, rather than diagnose yourself. You may be experiencing another form of depression so it is important that you are properly diagnosed and seek the appropriate treatment.

    If you are suffering from a form of depression, your GP can diagnose this and refer you to an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker. Accredited Mental Health Social Workers are registered providers with Medicare Australia. They have been assessed on behalf of the Commonwealth Government by the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) as having specialist mental health expertise. Accredited Mental Health Social Workers have a breadth of experience in assessing and treating people who have mental health disorders such as various forms of depression.

    Like other allied health professionals, such as psychologists, Accredited Mental Health Social Workers use a range of interventions in helping people with mental health disorders, including the focused psychological strategies such as cognitive behavioural therapy, relaxation strategies, skills training, stress management, interpersonal therapy, psycho-education and narrative therapy.

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