It’s Okay to Not be Okay: Seasonal Affective Disorder

Its Okay to Not be Okay: Seasonal Affective Disorder

Madison Conner, Contributor

As the days grow shorter and the sun shines less, many students, parents, and teachers struggle with lack of motivation, loss of interest, fatigue, and lessened appetite. Many people are unaware that yearly, recurring symptoms could be indicators of something more than exhaustion. December was the national awareness month for SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, a very common ailment. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes with seasonal changes, most often in the fall and winter. In these cases, the triggers can be the shorter days and lack of sunlight. Although it is possible to attain SAD during the summer, it is uncommon. 

The science behind some forms of winter-SAD is the production of melatonin. When it is dark more often, more melatonin is produced than usual, making the body more fatigued and less energized. There are a variety of different symptoms that can impact the quality of life and get in the way of everyday activities, including fatigue, lack of motivation, sleeping more than usual, and loss of interest, appetite, or social interaction.  

As common as it is, SAD is not a very well-known disease, and there is no known cause for it. It is often onset in the early twenties, and occasionally in the late teens. Many people around the world are diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder every year, and while it can affect anyone, women are more prone due to their genetic makeup.  

Although it may feel hopeless, there are many ways to treat SAD. Treatments like sun exposure, light therapy, and psychotherapy are known to decrease melatonin production, helping to fight reoccurring symptoms. There are also many ways to be proactive if someone has started to feel this way during the winter months. Methods like confiding in someone, doing favorite things, exercising, eating well, and taking it day by day are some of the best ways to combat any feelings of seasonal depression. Here in the school, there are many resources offered, including speaking with a counselor, or getting advice from a trusted teacher.   

When struggling, it is important to realize that millions of people around the world are experiencing something similar. There are always opportunities to reach out for support and a community of people available to help (Hopkins Medicine). 


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