Seasonal Affective Disorder


“Every winter I feel a bit down. I get lethargic and want to stay in bed. I call it my hedgehog mode.
Then when spring comes around I feel full of life and fine.” John

Many of us experience a mild form of Winter Blues. Some people, however, experience an exaggerated
form known as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). SAD can be very disabling and requires medical
treatment. Lack of sunlight in the winter months can create a chemical imbalance in the brain, which
causes a wide array of symptoms such as;
• Sleep problems
• Overeating
• Lethargy
• Depression
• Social problems
• Anxiety
• Loss of libido
• Mood changes
SAD can begin at any age but the main age of onset is 18 to 30 so students are a higher risk group. The
symptoms disappear in the spring. The Winter Blues is a much less serious form of SAD, which affects
many more people. There are lots of things you can do to help yourself;
1. Take a walk on the bright side. Make the most of winter sun and spend as much time as possible
outside. Being outdoors, even when the weather is overcast is helpful.
2. Light your room up well and sit near windows in the daytime. Try to get up at a reasonable hour
so you can get as much daylight as possible.
3. Take part in physical activity. Playing sports, running and dancing releases endorphins which
make you feel better.
4. Eat a well balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables. Try to resist cravings for sweet or
carbohydrate-rich foods. Putting on weight can be depressing.
5. Resist the temptation to hibernate. Spending too much time on your own can make things worse.
Make an effort to go out and meet new people or get in touch with old friends. Getting more
involved in campus life can help.
6. Aim for a balance between study, rest and play. Overworking or putting off work can lead to
7. Try something different. Taking up a new hobby can shake off lethargy.
8. Think about taking up voluntary work. Doing something useful can help to give meaning to your
9. Treat yourself. Having a new haircut or buying some new clothes may help you to feel a little
better about yourself.
10. Remember that spring is just around the corner.
If you think you may be suffering from SAD or any other more serious form of depression, contact your

SOURCE:- University of Hull Counselling Service

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