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April 17, 2024

SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder

Have you ever noticed that during the winter months, it’s more difficult to wake up in the morning? Or rather, a shift in your mood? If so, you may be experiencing symptoms of SAD, or seasonal affective disorder.

What is seasonal affective disorder, and what causes it?

Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that will come and go with the change of the seasons. While this disorder can occur during any season, it is most common during the winter months. A reported 5% of people experience this, while another 20% experience mild symptoms. This may seem like an insignificant amount, but there is a possibility that there could be more. One of my classmates, Emma Duheric, claimed that she has “never heard of” SAD, despite the fact that she experiences symptoms of it. She stated that she has “a hard time waking up early for school” and has increased difficulty falling asleep at night. Another one of my classmates, Sage, experiences this depression, stating that they feel “really, really sad” during the winter months. Both of these claims can be backed up by scientific evidence. For example, Emma is experiencing difficulty sleeping due to her brain receiving a lack of sunlight during the shorter winter days. The less sunlight your brain receives, the more melatonin it will produce. This excess amount of melatonin can cause a disruption in your typical sleep schedule, making it more difficult to wake up and more difficult to fall asleep at your usual bedtime. Sage’s claim that they feel an increased amount of sadness during the colder months can also be chalked up to this decrease of sunlight intake, as less serotonin, the brains “happy chemical”, is released.

How can you treat SAD?

Studies show that seasonal affective disorder shows signs of improvement when treated like typical depression, as well as some other preventive remedies. According to MHA (Mental Health America), treating depression before it typically starts can be beneficial. Doing things like starting therapy, being more active, practicing meditation, spending more time outdoors, or increasing your intake of sunlight can be effective in preventing SAD.

Sources:

https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad/overview/#:~:text=Seasonal%20affective%20disorder%20(SAD)%20is,feel%20better%20during%20the%20winter.

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/seasonal-affective-disorder#:~:text=Seasonal%20affective%20disorder%2C%20or%20SAD,antidepressants%20can%20help%20treat%20SAD.

https://etactics.com/blog/seasonal-affective-disorder-statistics

https://mhanational.org/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364651

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About the Contributor
Samantha Sorensen, Staff Writer
Hi! My name is Samantha Sorensen and I am a sophomore at Hunter High School. Some things I like to do for fun are hang out with friends and family, watch movies, and go shopping. My interest for journalism started when I took a speech and debate class during my freshman year of high school. I discovered that I like arguing a point and trying to make a change, but I didn't like the competition. I feel that because of this, Journalism is a better fit for me, because I can write influential stories and prove a point but without the competition and arguing, and so far I am really enjoying this class. This school year I am looking forward to meeting new people and learning new things, and I am hoping to broaden my horizons in journalism.

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