Dr. Mark Berber
The Winter Blues and SAD
The information on this website is for general guidance only and is not intended to replace the advice and treatment offered by your medical doctor or therapist.
The site was developed for my own patients but other patients and mental health professionals may find the contents helpful
A very effective method, created by Allen Carr, elegantly explains the concept of NICOTINE ADDICTION. In Carr's "Easy Way to Stop Smoking" you will explore and explode the myths associated with smoking. I highly recommend this book.
Do you want to help yourself or others to stop smoking cigarettes?
"Winter Blues" affects 15-20% of Canadians while the more severe Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects 2-3%.
In Winter Blues there is a loss of energy, productivity, enthusiasm and creativity with increased appetite (especially for carbs), increased weight and increased need for sleep. In SAD the symptoms are worse with loss of interest and ability to feel pleasure. Symptoms appear in October, peak in January and start to improve in April. Females are mostly affected with a peak onset of 40 years old. Treatment includes light therapy, exercise, getting outside in the sunshine and sometimes antidepressants.
Marijuana contains more than 60 chemicals called "cannabinoids", the 2 key ones being cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The euphoria or "high" is produced by THC and it is THC that produces psychosis in vulnerable people. CBD has a calming effect and possibly an antipsychotic effect.
In the 60's THC content was 1-2% but now it is around 13% and as high as 27%. The higher the THC, the greater the "buzz".
In the US, the government has approved 2 cannabinoids with the use of these cannabinoids approved for (1) nausea & vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy and (2) appetite stimulation in wasting illnesses (e.g. HIV).
One of these cannabinoids, Nabilone (Cesamet), is available in Canada and unlike plants, these tablets allow us to control dose, quality and content. Furthermore, smoking (which causes cancer, emphysema and heart disease) is avoided. In the few instances where it makes sense to consider medical marijuana as a treatment, no doctor is likely to recommend that patients smoke it.
Interestingly, 50% of studies using marijuana for chronic pain and neuropathic pain have been negative.
Flyers advertise "clinics" that will prescribe marijuana for "everything that ails you" while glossy magazines with attractive individuals on the covers tout the fantastic benefits of marijuana.
Sadly, the scientific data DOES NOT SUPPORT the use of marijuana for almost all the diseases for which it is now being prescribed.
Anxiety Disorders, the commonest psychiatric disorders of all, are treated with cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation techniques, mindfulness and sometimes, medications. However, if you REALLY want to understand these disorders and stop them controlling your life I highly recommend "The Emotional Brain" by Dr. Joseph LeDoux. Published in 1996, this book remains a classic and became an important component of my lectures on anxiety.
Are you suffering from an Anxiety Disorder and want to escape from its disabling grip?
In his Marijuana TEDTALK Mr. Cort explains how we are NOT legalizing weed but rather "commercializing THC"
Are you confused about the medical indications for Marijuana?