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Mental Health Spotlight: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Mental+Health+Spotlight%3A+Seasonal+Affective+Disorder+%28SAD%29

Autumn can be beautiful. However, golden leaves and cool temperatures lead way to less sunshine, and less sunshine can cause undesirable effects. A disorder known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD for short, can affect about 5% of the adult population according to the American Psychiatric Association. This disorder is also known as Seasonal Depression.

I remember how bittersweet this time of year was for me. I used to love the fall so much but felt tricked by my mind because I could only focus on my depression. Being sad during my favorite time of year felt like betrayal. After years of therapy and getting the right medications I finally do not dread this time of year and can enjoy it like I used to.

Every year as autumn creeps closer I worry that the sadness will return. I also look back at the sadness with a sort of nostalgia. I look back and I remember the bleakness of winter and clinging to what warmth I could find and finding moments of feeling all right.

Going outside and getting fresh air and sunshine helps tremendously. Part of the reason SAD takes place mostly around autumn and winter is the lack of sunlight. The more sunlight we receive, the more certain chemicals in the brain are produced, such as serotonin. They make light therapy lamps that are supposed to provide light to stimulate serotonin production.

I know a lot of people affected by SAD. Unfortunately, according to the CDC, it’s mostly common in my age demographic (18-25), which is also the age of most college and university students. SAD should be treated with the same seriousness as non-seasonal depression.

Just like my advice on depression a few articles before, I recommend reaching out to someone you trust to talk about the feelings caused by SAD. Like I said, going outside and getting fresh air and sunlight, when possible, can help. Seeking a therapist and finding creative outlets are standards for non-seasonal depression, and therefore will help with SAD.

One hopeful thing about SAD is the return of spring and summer. If you find that even then you’re depressed, more help should be sought after. If you start to feel depressed and it doesn’t let up when it normally does, then there’s a good chance you have depression.

Try to find little things that bring you joy throughout the season! I’ve found finding small things to help a whole lot. For example, maybe Starbucks has a good seasonal drink. Or maybe you like to look at holiday lights with friends and/or family. I always look forward to celebrating the holidays, be it Christmas or New Years.

There’s so much to celebrate this time of year, and SAD wants to get in the way. Don’t let SAD ruin this beautiful time of year. This is a particularly cheerful time to spend with loved ones. It’s cozy and warm despite the bitter cold outside, and everyone deserves to feel the warmth.

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About the Contributor
Grayson Sekercak
Grayson Sekercak, Staff Reporter
Grayson Sekercak is a sophomore majoring in creative writing. He plays saxophone in the marching band and enjoys music. Grayson wants to use his degree to go into editing and publishing and become a successful author.
 
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