Blissful Belle

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Don’t Be A Sad Belle: How To Deal With Seasonal Affective Disorder

It’s that time of year again. Crisp fall days turn into cool nights and then suddenly, almost overnight, it’s winter! After the joyful days of holiday cheer, which seem to mask any and all wintery drear, we are left with the dark, cold days of the long winter months ahead.

For many people who live in climates where the temperature plunges and the sun shines less and less each day, they may experience something called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.

SAD is a spot-on acronym for the disorder that plagues tons of people. SAD is temporary depression that occurs during seasons that are characterized by days that are darker longer than they are light, which is mainly winter.

The effects of SAD are pretty wide-ranging and since they are brought on by the seasons and are affected by the weather, SAD is very hard to diagnose. The symptoms usually start in the late fall and build up over the winter months. Some symptoms of SAD are:

  • Increased appetite and potential weight gain
  • Increased daytime sleepiness
  • Less energy
  • Less able to concentrate during the afternoon
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Sluggish or lethargic
  • Withdrawing from social interactions
  • Irritability
  • Overall unhappiness

Being a college student is already stressful enough, so adding seasonal depression to the list of things we have that can drag us down isn’t too appealing. Try these treatments to help cope with SAD during the winter!



Light Therapy

The most popular treatment is light therapy. A special, fluorescent lamp is used to mimic sunlight when there isn’t enough outside. If you live in a place plagued by bleak weather, many health centers on campus provide this service!



Get Outside

Taking a walk or going for a run during times of direct sunlight can give you the extra boost you need midafternoon.

Take Your Vitamin D

While not proven to help treat SAD, vitamin D is only naturally found in the sun’s UV rays. If there is not a lot of sunlight, you may not be getting sufficient amounts of vitamin D. Taking a supplement daily will cure this.

Talk to Your Doctor

For really severe cases, a health care provider can prescribe you an antidepressant to help you cope with the effects.

Although SAD is hard to diagnose, it is a real disorder. If you start to feeling gloomy during the winter, go see your doctor or get to your health center. Take advantage of the services that treat SAD and enjoy the season!



One comment on “Don’t Be A Sad Belle: How To Deal With Seasonal Affective Disorder

  1. PanicMonster
    November 3, 2011

    great post. thanks for the info…. im so not looking forward to the winter blues 😦

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