Learning more about SAD

As Loras students enter the “lovely” snow season, we should not only protect our bodies from the cold, but should also pay attention to our mental health. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as the “winter blues,” is a type of depression that occurs during winter months.

There are three main reasons why winter months cause SAD. Having shorter days and reduced sunlight can affect your internal biological clock and cause problems with your sleep. Reduced sunlight can also cause a dip in levels of serotonin, a chemical associated with mood and social behavior. Lastly, melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep can also be altered by the changing seasons. A few common symptoms of SAD are frequent oversleeping, feeling depressed most of the day, having low energy, hypersomnia (excessive daytime sleeping), craving for carbohydrates, overeating and social withdrawal.

Making your living environment sunnier and brighter, going outside (even if it’s just for a walk), and most importantly exercising regularly are a few of the lifestyle changes people can use to reduce the chances of developing SAD. But don’t take serious matters like mental health into your own hands. We are blessed to have many resources on campus that are here to help you if you aren’t feeling 100 percent.

The Health and Counseling Center on the fourth floor of the ACC is open Monday through Friday. The semester is only going to get busier with finals coming up, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

These are some Web sites that may be helpful:

www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20364722

www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/seasonalaffectivedisorder/index.shtml#part_152431

www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/body/health/a19869387/reverse-sad-summer-seasonal-affective-disorder/

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