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Category Archives: Health

Ocean County Library to Offer Alzheimer’s Awareness Programs

The Ocean County Library will offer educational programs about Alzheimer’s disease at nine branches throughout the year beginning March 2017.

The programs provide insight on why people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia experience behavioral changes. You will learn what those behaviors mean and how to cope when behaviors are challenging. The programs are sponsored by Alzheimer’s New Jersey. Continue reading Ocean County Library to Offer Alzheimer’s Awareness Programs

Manahawkin Location Partners with AtlantiCare to Host Women’s Health Fair on March 14

Stockton University’s location in Manahawkin is partnering with AtlantiCare to host a Women’s Health Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, March 14. The event will be held at the Ocean County site, located at 712 E. Bay Ave. in Manahawkin, N.J. Continue reading Manahawkin Location Partners with AtlantiCare to Host Women’s Health Fair on March 14

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Seasonal Affective Disorder

According to—

Summer is “a period of fruition, fulfillment, happiness, or beauty.”
Winter is “a period of time characterized by coldness, misery, barrenness, or death.”

Well, that sums it up quite nicely, we think.

It is winter yet again. The beautiful colors of the autumn leaves have disappeared and have been replaced by barren tree limbs and icicles sharp and brittle. The harsh winds rattle the window frames and the cold air seems to sing a cruel song that frightens away birds to warmer climates. The daytime gives way to the moon, and darkness sets in way before supper. So, you see, while some perceive winter as a festive time when their worlds are blanketed by the purity of snow, others feel that they are being suffocated by a literally colorless existence.

It is estimated that half a million Americans are negatively affected by the changing seasons and darkening of the summer light. They feel depressed, irritable, and tired. Their activity levels decrease, and they find themselves in bed more often. This depression disorder not only affects their health, but it also affects their everyday life, including their job performance and friendships. This disorder is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, appropriately acronym-ed, SAD.

What is SAD Exactly?

SAD is a mood disorder that affects an individual the same time each year, usually starting when the weather becomes colder in September or October, and ends in April or May when the weather becomes warmer. People with SAD feel depressed during the shorter days of winter, and more cheerful and energetic during the brightness of spring and summer.

“Hey, Einstein! I knew that already! Tell me something I don’t know!”

Jeez, okay, okay. Irritability is a sign of SAD, so I understand your bitterness, Crankypants. Here are—

10 Things You May Not Have Known About SAD

1. Did you know that between 60% and 90% of people with SAD are women? It’s true. If you are a female between 15 and 55, you are more likely to develop SAD. Great, so not only do women have PMS, Menopause, and child labor to worry about, add SAD to the list, too.

2. Even though the harsh chill in the air might bring you down, SAD is believed to relate more to daylight, not the temperature. Some experts believe that a lack of sunlight increases the body’s production of a body chemical called melatonin. Melatonin is what helps regulate sleep and can cause symptoms of depression.

3. SAD can be treated. If your symptoms are mild, meaning, if they do not interfere in and completely ruin your daily life, light therapy may help you beat SAD. Using light therapy has shown highly effective. Studies prove that between 50% and 80% of light therapy users have complete remissions of symptoms. However, light therapy must be used for a certain amount of time daily and continue throughout the dark, winter months.

4. Some say that light therapy has no side effects, but others disagree. We think it simply depends on the person. Some people experience mild side effects, such as headaches, eyestrain, or nausea. However, these light therapy users say that the side effects are temporary and subside with time or reduced light exposure. Most scientists agree that there are no long-term side effects, but remember to consult your physician before any treatment decisions are made.

5. There are some things to consider if you want to try light therapy in your home, otherwise you will not receive all the benefits that this type of therapy offers.

  • When purchasing a light box, do not skimp as far as money is concerned. Buy a larger one so that you will receive enough light to be beneficial.
  • The best time for light therapy is in the early morning. (If used late at night, it could cause insomnia.) So, even if it means waking up earlier, set aside some morning time to relax and use your light box.
  • Many people are not aware of this, but you must have your eyes open and face the light during therapy. Do not stare at the light. That would be silly. Simply face the light, eyes open.

6. It takes more than just one winter depression to be diagnosed with SAD. Individuals must meet certain criteria:

  • The symptoms and remission of the systems must have occurred during the last two consecutive years.
  • The seasonal depressive episodes must outnumber the non-seasonal depressive episodes in one’s lifetime.

7. SAD can be treated with certain medications that increase serotonin levels in the brain. Such medications include antidepressants, such as Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft.

8. There is actually a device that conducts light therapy and allows you to walk around while treated. The device is called a light visor. Just wear the light visor around your head and complete your daily chores and rituals. A light visor still can potentially have the same side effects as the standard forms of light therapy, so only simple activities, such as watching television, walking, or preparing meals is advised. We do not recommend you operate heavy machinery while wearing a light visor. (You would look pretty silly with it on out in public, anyway.)

9. If you have a friend or loved one who suffers from SAD, you can help them tremendously.

  • Try to spend more time with the person, even though they may not seem to want any company.
  • Help them with their treatment plan.
  • Remind them often that summer is only a season away. Tell them that their sad feelings are only temporary, and they will feel better in no time.
  • Go outside and do something together. Take a walk, or exercise. Get them to spend some time outside in the natural sunlight. Just remember to bundle up!

10. Although not as common, a second type of seasonal affective disorder known as summer depression can occur in individuals who live in warmer climates. Their depression is related to heat and humidity, rather than light. Winter depression does cause petulance in many cases, but summer depression is known to cause severe violence. So, it could be worse.

There are times in this article, in which I seem a bit blithe. However, please, do not take my somewhat lighthearted approach to SAD the wrong way. SAD is a serious disorder that disrupts the lives of many people, worldwide. It is nothing to laugh at. Sneeze at, perhaps—it is winter, after all. But laugh at? No, not at all.

Free Clinical Health Screenings Available to Women in Ocean County

Community Medical Center’s Community Health Services, a RWJ Barnabas Health facility, through a grant provided by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, coordinates the New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection program in Ocean County. Currently, free clinical health screenings are available to uninsured women in Ocean County. Continue reading Free Clinical Health Screenings Available to Women in Ocean County

Happy Holidays from Gentle Dental & Ask the Dentists…

Keeping with the Holiday spirit, here are a few fun facts about Christmas! Enjoy!

1)  It’s hard to go more than five minutes without hearing the familiar tune of ‘Jingle Bells’ running through your head during the month of December. The truth is that you should have been hearing it in November. According to history Magazine, composer James Lord Pierpont wrote the song in the 1850s to play for his Boston Sunday school class during Thanksgiving as a way to commemorate the famed Medford sleigh races. Kids and adults loved the song and eventually changed the lyrics to fit Christmas. No word on whether the original lyrics contained the line, “Dashing through the snow, in a one-turkey open sleigh.” Continue reading Happy Holidays from Gentle Dental & Ask the Dentists…


A stroke can affect an individual in many ways, from paralysis of one side of the body to impaired vision and difficulty swallowing. Beyond physical challenges, many stroke survivors and caregivers also need support and community to transition back into an active lifestyle and continue to heal emotionally and physically. HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Toms River’s stroke support group offers stroke survivors a place to relate to other survivors and caregivers encouragement.  Continue reading LOCAL STROKE GROUP OFFERS SUPPORT TO SURVIVORS AND CAREGIVERS


November is National Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Throughout the month of November, local smokers can seek help with quitting smoking through the new Pack Exchange program offered at the Tobacco Quitcenter located at the Steeplechase Cancer Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset (RWJUH). Continue reading NEW PACK EXCHANGE PRGRAM THROUGH TOBACCO QUITCENTER AT RWJUH SOMERSET HELPS SMOKERS QUIT


By Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari

It’s that time of year again – open enrollment for Medicare Part D.
Our Ocean County Office of Senior Services is ready to assist our residents choose the best plan for them.


RWJUH 10th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Event

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) hosted its 10th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Event, The Best Kept Secret: Dense Breast Tissue, on October 6 at The Imperia in Somerset, N.J. RWJUH hosts a breast cancer awareness event each year to provide the community an opportunity to join together for an evening of learning about an important health topic related to breast cancer. Continue reading RWJUH 10th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Event

Forked River Gazette