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Hospital forming new depression therapy group

New Britain [February 04 2008] - For many people, winter’s cold, long days have a chilling effect that brings on a type of depression known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

A form of depression that typically strikes more women than men and peaks in December, January and February, SAD is one of the many forms of depression affecting 17 million Americans in any given year, says psychologist Heather Paluso, Ph.D., of the Hospital of Central Connecticut’s Outpatient Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Department.

To help those afflicted by SAD and other depression, The Hospital of Central Connecticut is beginning a group therapy program, Tools to Treat Depression. The one-hour sessions will be held at 4 p.m. on Wednesdays, beginning Feb. 13 at the Counseling Center, 50 Griswold St. Participants may start at any time. Each week will feature a new topic linked to depression.

“These sessions will focus on cognitive behavior therapy – exploring how patients can change their thoughts and actions to help improve their mental health,” Paluso says.

SAD typically starts with the onset of daylight saving time in the fall and lifts with the longer daylight hours and warmer weather, says Paluso. Symptoms of depression include being persistently sad or depressed for at least two weeks; not wanting to be with friends; and having a hard time getting up and going to work, a sleep disturbance (e.g., not sleeping or sleeping excessively), a changed appetite with weight lost or gained, loss of interest in pleasurable activities, difficulty concentrating, as well as feelings of guilt, worthlessness and hopelessness.

Both therapy and medication are effective treatments for depression. Additional remedies include light therapy from natural daylight or light boxes and exercise (an opportunity for daylight).

To register for Tools to Treat Depression, or for more information, please call the department’s Access Center at (860) 224-5804. Insurance is required.

Contact: Kimberly Gensicki, 860-224-5900, ext. 6507

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