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Psychologist | Speaker | Media Expert | Workplace Consultant | Researcher

My sister is introverted and melancholy. Is this depression?

The question:


My sister is a successful 26-year-old grad student. Lately she’s become more introverted, started sleeping more and become melancholy. Is this clinical depression? She’s started taking antidepressants but I’m worried that it requires more than a prescription. What do you recommend?

 

The answer:


You’re smart to be concerned about your sister (as unfortunately, many well-meaning friends and family will avoid addressing a loved one’s mood issues, even when they see that person possibly struggling).

 

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I'm medically obese – and totally love my body. Is that okay?

The question:


I’m medically obese – but totally happy with my body (I swear). Family and friends tell me there has to be something psychologically wrong with me, if I can be truly happy with my body being this large. What’s your perspective?

 

The answer:


First, there is nothing “psychologically wrong” with you for truly accepting your body as it is. You sound like a confident person whose self-esteem is not impacted by your physical appearance. The reality is there are a range of physical attributes (e.g., weight, height, facial features, acne, scarring), health conditions (e.g., cancer, HIV) and physical disabilities (e.g., paraplegia, amputations) which could impact self-esteem and confidence.

 

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Help: I wake up multiple times a night

The question:


I am a healthy, active 30-year-old woman. I have not slept through the night in over a year – I always wake up two or three times a night, restless and annoyed and unable to get back to sleep. Do you have tips/mental strategies for falling back to sleep easily? And what can I do to treat this? (I’d prefer not to take sleeping pills).

 

The answer:


Chronic sleep problems are very common and impact up to one-third of the population at any point in time. A much higher percentage of people will experience more short-term/transient sleep problems (often tied to particular events that are happening in their life, that resolve when those stressors resolve). The good news is there are very effective cognitive and behavioural strategies that can dramatically improve sleep length and quality.

 

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