It’s more than ‘winter blues’


Savannah Donaldson

S. Donaldson

Do the winter months get you down more than other seasons? If so you might possibly have Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) is a type of depression that usually occurs in the late fall into winter months. It is caused by decrease in serotonin and melatonin levels in the body because of lack of sunlight.

S.A.D is most common in females closer to middle age, but it has been proven that symptoms can start as early as age 15 and can affect anyone. Symptoms include less energy, trouble concentrating, and fatigue.

Even though the cold weather would appear to be the culprit, the problem is actually the amount of daylight. With the days becoming shorter — it is now completely dark by 5:30 p.m., just a couple of hours after many kids get out of school — it is even harder to get more sunlight.

“Some things that people can do to feel better all year long is to make sure to go outside during the day and get exercise,” said KHS Nurse Eva Garcher. “Exposure to sunlight during the winter months and exercise can help people feel better physically and emotionally.”

The ailment can lead to a trip to the doctor, but many sufferers have found ways to treat themselves. Vitamin D supplements, spending more time outside even when it’s cloudy, or getting a special light box to use indoors to replace natural sunlight all seem to help curb some symptoms.

Emily Cowan, Kings Junior High counselor, has suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder for years and still treats her condition..

“I have a happy light, take Vitamin D supplements and try to get outside as much as possible,” Cowan said, “ The light gives a little “pick me up” when I’m dragging and the vitamin D is helpful. Research is showing that more and more people are Vitamin D deficient because we are so conscious about sunscreen nowadays. It’s pretty important.”

Thought it might feel like a simple case of the “winter blues,” you can take steps to keep your motivation and happiness higher this winter season.

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