Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Are winter blues more than just being SAD?


By: Maisie Stout
As the buzz of the New Year comes to an end, winter is officially upon us. In the past our winters have either been mild or extreme, but this year looks to be a unique winter with bipolar weather. Not having a white Christmas is disappointing enough, but the extreme cold the week after break had many teachers and students missing the warmer weather. Along with the shift in temperature, winter weather can also cause a shift in mood for many people. Principal William Hosaflook said that the highest rate of in school disputes happens in October, which is around the time many people begin to experience symptoms of winter SAD. Administrators also notice that there are statistically more disputes via the internet during the winter months because the cold and lack of daylight keeps students inside.
SAD, or seasonal affective disorder, is a mood disorder that causes depression at the same time every year. Many of the symptoms of SAD are caused by a drop in melatonin or serotonin levels. Melatonin is a brain chemical that aids in sleep cycles and mood. Serotonin affects your mood, and reduced sunlight can often cause a drop in serotonin levels which would cause symptoms of SAD.  SAD most commonly occurs during the winter months, but there are people who will experience seasonal depression during the spring or summer months.
“I am not diagnosed, but I do experience motivation decrease and I am less likely to go to the gym in the winter. I almost feel like hibernating under a blanket, eating soup and snuggling with cats,” English teacher Emily Okes said.
With more than 3 million cases every year, it is safe to say that SAD is a serious disorder and should not be taken lightly.  Symptoms of winter SAD include irritability, tiredness, oversleeping, weight gain, and appetite changes. Spring or summer SAD can cause depression, trouble sleeping, and weight loss. It is common to have a bad day every now and then, but if you are feeling continuously depressed it is advised to see a doctor.
Medical treatments of SAD include light therapy (exposure to artificial light), psychotherapy and medications which may include different types of antidepressants. To avoid the doctor’s office, try home remedies like making your home sunnier, exercising more and just going outside.

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