Combatting seasonal depression

As the dark days of winter encroach upon UAS make sure to be aware of S.A.D. signs and symptoms

Staff Writer, UAS Whalesong
Today the sun came up at 7:31 a.m. and will go down at 3:50 p.m. Tomorrow the day will be shorter by four minutes and will continue until the winter solstice, on Dec. 21.
As the days start getting shorter and the nights longer, some students may find themselves showing the signs of seasonal affective disorder, or S.A.D.
This is more commonly referred to as seasonal depression.
Defining seasonal depression, is not as simple as it appears. It can come in a variety of forms much like its non-seasonal counterparts.
The Medical Director of Providence Extended Care, Dr. Karen Mailer, said “While it’s direct cause isn’t known, we do know some of the signs that come along with the condition; many of which are shared with similar forms of depression.”
Being tired, wanting to sleep most of the day, eating carbs, being tearful, and experiencing less joy, and not enjoying some things that you use to like doing are all signs of the disorder said UAS Counselor Margie Thompson.
“Living here, around latitude 58, we don’t get a lot of sun. We have to take supplements,” said Iverson.
This lack of daylight due to its global location causes there to be less sunlight could explain why S.A.D. is more common in Alaska.
According to Psych Central, 10 percent of Alaskans suffer from S.A.D.
UAS has many resources available to students, “Some steps students can take are increasing physical activity, checking out sad lights, and most importantly talking with someone,” said Thompson.
One of the many symptoms of seasonal depression, according to Bacchus Network, is feeling isolated. This can make getting treatment challenging for suffers.
To avoid feelings of isolation one can engage in events around campus and the Juneau community at large.
“Juneau is fortunate to have many events for people that go on throughout the year,” said the executive director of the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, Nancy Decherney.
Decherney believes that events the council hosts can be helpful for those affected by S.A.D.
“It gets you out of thinking about yourself. I think it maybe an effort sometimes but I do feel it can help.”
What is important for people to know is that depression is treatable. If a student feels that they are depressed, they shouldn’t be afraid to schedule an appointment with counseling services.

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