Seasonal Affective Disorder and How to Combat it

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With many United States students having been in quarantine since March, including those that attend Livermore High School, observations have shown that mental health has suffered. These negative emotions may be compounded as the season changes, and a different kind of epidemic takes hold.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is defined by the Mayo Clinic, an American nonprofit academic medical center as, “a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons.” Sufferers of SAD are likely to experience some or all of the following symptoms: changes in appetite and weight, decreased interest in activities that they once enjoyed, feeling depressed almost every day, feeling lethargic, and sleeping for longer hours.

While there hasn’t been a definite cause for seasonal affective disorder, it has been linked to shorter days and longer nights that occur during the fall and winter months. While SAD is typically associated with this time period, some find that they struggle with the symptoms more so in the spring and summer months

Even so, despite the time in which an individual experiences symptoms of SAD, studies have led researchers to theorize that changes in melatonin and serotonin production and the body’s circadian rhythm may be responsible for the mood disorder. It has also been theorized that seasonal affective disorder may be genetic

While feeling especially low during the holiday season, there are a few ways that people can manage their emotions during this time. Individuals that are struggling with SAD can try implementing an exercise routine, contacting friends and family, writing, meditating, and making sure they let what little sun there is reach them.

 If synonyms still persist, sufferers are also encouraged to give light therapy a try or talk to a professional about starting antidepressants.