Winter is Approaching, and So is Seasonal Affective Disorder


Photo by: Debra Born

Debra Born, Staff Writer

UC students weighed in on their personal experiences with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is a common condition that negatively affects people who have a healthy mentality throughout most of the year.

SAD is the medical term for the “winter blues” or seasonal depression, and the condition can range from a light case to a serious concern. People with SAD become discouraged by seasonal changes such as shorter daylight hours, and symptoms include depression, insomnia, reduced, energy and weight loss.

Marissa Anderson is a senior health studies major and talked about how SAD affects her personally.

“I wouldn’t say it makes me depressed, but I would say that it makes me lazier and want to go to bed earlier,” she said.

Anderson tries to stay busy to avoid the negative effects of SAD.

“Other than maintaining my schoolwork, I like to play cards a lot inside,” Anderson said. “I don’t like to play outside in the cold. Just going out and doing things with friends.”

Anderson had some advice for her fellow students who may be battling a case of SAD: “Stay occupied would be my advice, as best as you can.”

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a common yet mysterious problem that many do not recognize as being a medical condition, even those affected by SAD. Some students debated on whether the disorder is a type of depression.

“I think it could develop into a depression, especially in a place where most of the year it’s like this,” said Kaitlyn Egan, a freshman in the physical therapy major.

Egan has a lab during the late afternoon.

“Now I get there and it’s dark out,” she said. “It makes me more tired and makes me feel like I’m at school longer.”

Egan tries to keep active to cope with the seasonal changes.

“I just try to get used to it,” she said. “I try to stay energized and go to sleep early. A workout helps a lot.”

Josh Fenical is a junior criminal justice major.

“When it gets cold outside, and snowing or even rainy, I think it definitely changes my mood for sure, not in a better way,” Fernical said.

One of the seasonal changes with SAD that most discourages its victims are shorter daylight hours, especially when it gets dark early in the evening.

“I feel like I get more tired a lot earlier just because I can see how it’s dark a lot earlier,” Fernical said.

SAD affects different people in various ways, and students talked about whether the darkness in the earlier morning hours affects them.

“Sometimes I gotta wake up when it’s still dark out,” Fernical said. “I don’t think anything about that. Waking up when it’s dark doesn’t matter to me.”

Marco Santomassino is a sophomore criminal justice major and talked about his experience with SAD.

“It definitely affects me,” Santomassino said. “On the days it’s shorter, I get tired. I don’t really want to do much on the dark days.”

Santomassino beats the winter blues by getting together with his friends and working out. He has ideas for other students to avoid becoming affected by SAD.

“I would say just stay busy,” Santomassino said. “Honestly, just hang out with friends because, honestly, you’re gonna have a good day or night, whether it’s dark out or not. If you surround yourself with people that are having fun, then you’re going to naturally have fun, too.”