Seasonal Affective Disorder- The winter blues explained

Seasonal Affective Disorder- The winter blues explained

Every winter, as the temperatures drop and sunlight lessens, the overall feeling of “blah” spikes. While most people just get the “winter blues” this time of year, about 6% of the U.S. population suffer from a more severe form called Seasonal Affective Disorder. Also known as SAD, this disorder is a type of depression that’s related to the change of seasons and the decrease of Vitamin D. Most cases begin in November and end around late March.

“Most students do pretty well with hiding their thoughts and emotions, but usually during the fall or winter-time, they start to get sluggish and out of it; when it starts to get nicer out students become happier,” said psychology teacher Ian Tobey. “Depression affects parts of the brain that are supposed to trigger happy emotions and causes it to fire sad emotions. It’s hard for students that have Seasonal Affective Disorder because they can’t just ‘decide’ to be happy.”

SAD symptoms include lethargy, weight gain, desire to sleep more, cravings for junk food, plus increased sadness and irritability. Overall, SAD makes people incredibly melancholy, especially students. Staying inside all day can make anyone listless, but cabin fever hits high school students particularly hard.

“Seasonal Affective Disorder really messes up my day to day routine,” said senior Carson Harrell. “It makes doing simple everyday tasks a struggle. Apart from just feeling sad, I also feel unmotivated and very sluggish.”

Apparently the best way to cope with seasonal depression is to go on a warm, sunny vacation. But thankfully for the majority of SAD patients who find that solution unrealistic, other, more accessible fixes exist.

According to Mayo Clinic, “light therapy, Vitamin D supplements, spending time outside, and having a healthy diet and lifestyle are all proven to help combat SAD.”

By getting outside and taking vitamins, overcoming SAD isn’t impossible. Besides, spring is just around the corner.