Monthly Archives: December 2014

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

By Aimee Meyer, LPC, Delta Center, LLC

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that is related to the changes in the seasons.  It typically begins and ends around the same time each year and is related to the amount of natural sunlight.  Symptoms start in the fall, especially after Daylight Savings Time ends, and end in the Spring.  Seasonal Affective Disorder affects over a half million people every year, and “Winter Blues”, a more mild form of SAD, affects even more.


It is believed that SAD may be an effect of the seasonal light variations in humans. As the light changes, our “biological clocks” shift in a manner that may be out of synch with our daily schedules.

Serotonin is a brain chemical responsible for keeping your mood stable.  Scientists at the University of Copenhagen found that volunteers with SAD had more serotonin transporters in the winter than in the summer.  The higher level of activity decreases the serotonin in your brain and makes you feel more depressed.

Melatonin, a sleep related hormone, has also been linked to SAD. This hormone is produced by the body at increased levels in the dark. When days are shorter your body produces more of this chemical resulting in feeling tired, less motivated, and difficult to wake up.


A diagnosis of SAD can be made after experiencing three consecutive winters of the following symptoms if they are followed by a complete remission of symptoms in the spring and summer months:

  • Depression, sadness, guilt, hopelessness
  • Irritability
  • Tiredness and low energy or low motivation
  • Problems getting along with other people or wanting to avoid social contact
  • Heavy feeling in the arms or legs
  • Problems sleeping or oversleeping
  • Appetite changes, especially craving foods high in carbohydrates

More severe symptoms of SAD include

  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • Social withdrawal
  • School or work problems
  • Substance abuse


Light therapy In light therapy you sit in front of a special light therapy box that emits a light up to ten times the intensity of normal domestic lighting. The device most often used today is a bank of white fluorescent lights on a metal reflector.  Your doctor would be able to help you choose the right one for you.

Spending time outside or arranging your home or workspace to allow more natural light inside could also help symptoms of SAD.  

Talk therapy is another option to treat SAD.  Therapy can help you identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors.  You will also learn healthy ways to cope with SAD as well as how to manage stress.

Exercise and other types of physical activity help to improve mood. Being more fit can make you feel better about yourself.  Also, exercise helps to relieve stress and anxiety which can also increase SAD symptoms.

Medication in the form of an antidepressant for treatment with SAD, especially if the symptoms are more severe.  Your doctor or
psychiatrist will work to choose the right medication for you.

You don’t have to feel this way all winter.  There are people and treatments that can help you feel better.  If you can get control of your symptoms before they get worse, you may be able to heal off serious changes in mood, appetite, and energy levels. For more information visit






Building a Brusher

Building a Brusher

As Parents, we want our children to learn independence at an early age.  However, brushing their teeth is not a responsibility young children should do independently.  Parents need to be actively involved in a child’s oral hygiene at least until they are old enough to tie their own shoelaces.  Young children don’t have the hand coordination or attention span to thoroughly brush all the areas of the mouth.  Parents often tell us that their child likes to brush on their own or that they do a good job.  In reality, children tend to focus on the front area of the mouth and tend to avoid brushing their back teeth.  It is most successful to establish a routine where the parent brushes all the teeth and areas of the mouth first.  Then, if the child still wants to do it on their own, let them! Encourage them to use the toothbrush in different areas.

When the child reaches an age and maturity level where they can physically brush their own teeth, a parent still should be present.  Children often don’t want to brush for the full two minute time period that is recommended.  Make it fun!  Give the child a timer or look for an app on your smartphone that they can brush along with.  When children are engaged in their oral health at a young age it helps establish healthy oral hygiene habits for a lifetime.

There is a right way to brush and floss. Every day:

•          Gently brush teeth on all sides with a soft-bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste.

•          Use small circular motions and short back-and-forth strokes.

•          Take the time to brush carefully and gently along the gum line.

•          Lightly brush the tongue to help keep your mouth clean.

“What type of toothpaste should I use for my toddler?” is a common question.  The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) advises limiting the amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush. The AAPD recommends a “smear” of toothpaste for children younger than 2 years of age and a “pea-sized” amount for children ages 2-5.  The toothpaste you choose should contain fluoride even if they are younger than 2 years of age.

Flossing is important for children teeth!  Even with supervised brushing the toothbrush is still not able to reach between the teeth.  Cavity causing plaque collects between the teeth and the only way to remove this sticky plaque is with floss.  Cavities tend to begin to form between the teeth because without regular flossing bacteria are left undisturbed and begin to attack the enamel surface of the tooth.  Individual flossers are great for children as an adult can hold onto the handle and still access all of the teeth.  Flossing should be done in an up and down motion, not back and forth.  It is common to see gum tissue bleed after flossing, especially if it has not been part of the regular oral hygiene routine.  Bleeding is a sign of gum irritation and infection.  The more often that an individual flosses the healthier the gum tissue will become, because the bacteria count between the teeth is being reduced.  The bleeding will decrease.

Be a good role model! Take good care of yourself, as well!

Happy Holidays

The holiday season can be very hectic and stressful for some.  This holiday season don’t break your healthy habits.  Give yourself the gift of health and wellness this holiday season.

Utilize these tips and tricks to survive the holidays:

Eat small amounts of the foods you love– don’t feel deprived; take a small piece of the food you love.  Look over the table/ foods pick out one thing that you really would love to enjoy. The rest of your plate can be filled with healthy food options.

Eat a high fiber snack before you go to the party.  Fiber makes you feel full.  If you aren’t feeling hungry you may not overindulge at the party.

Pace yourself-It takes a few minutes for your brain to realize your stomach is getting full.  You can eat a lot of extra food in those few minutes.  Set your fork down between bites and sip some water.  Make it a goal to be the last one finished eating at the table.

Plan Realistic Workouts:  Fit a cardio routine to whatever time you have, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Choose activities that are quick and easy to do: walking, running, jump roping or cycling.

Exercise wherever you can:  Take the stairs, park far away, cut down your own Christmas tree.   Use every opportunity to get in more movement.

Make it a family affair:  Plan active things to do during the holidays.  Go Ice Skating or Sledding.  Walk around the neighborhood to look at holiday decorations.  Getting others involved can make exercise more fun.

Know your spending limit:  Lack of money is one of the biggest causes of stress during the holiday season.  Set a Holiday Budget and stick to it.

Manage your time: 

  • Set priorities and let go of impossible goals.
  • Stop to enjoy what you have accomplished.
  • Ask for help.  You are only one person, don’t stretch yourself too thin. 

Learn to Say No:  Saying no during the holiday season isn’t easy, especially if you are saying no to family or close friends. Don’t overbook yourself.  Saying no can give you some room to relax and decompress during the holidays.


Nicole Wiegert

Wellness RN

Agnesian Healthcare

What is Social Hosting?

What is Social Hosting?

The Social Host Ordinance holds persons responsible for hosting, or in other words, knowingly providing a place for underage drinking to occur. A “Host” refers to a person who aids, conducts, entertains, organizes, supervises, controls, or permits a gathering or event where underage persons possess or consume alcohol or alcoholic beverages.

Under current state law it is illegal for adults to furnish alcohol to an individual under the age of 21, unless you are the parent/guardian or spouse over the age of 21. The Social Host Ordinance allows law enforcement to cite the individual who hosts or provides a gathering place for underage drinking to take place, even if they did not provide the alcohol.

The Social Host Ordinance was adopted by Fond du Lac County in 2012. From 2013 to July 2014 we have had 29 citations for social hosting.

Here are ways parents and other adults can help to prevent social hosting:

  • Refuse to supply alcohol to anyone under the age of 21.
  • Be home and have an adult present if your child is hosting an event.
  • Make sure alcohol is not brought into your home by your child’s friends.
  • Talk to other parents about not providing alcohol at events your child will be attending.
  • Talk to your child their responsibilities and consequences of their actions.
  • Be a role model for your child.
  • Create alcohol-free opportunities and activities in your home.
  • Report any underage drinking to your local law enforcement.