By Maggie Collett
Harsh winds, icy roads, and below-zero temperatures are all reasons to be bitter about winter. For some, winter is even worse because of seasonal affective disorder. According to The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, seasonal affective disorder is, “a mood disorder in which major depressive episodes and/or manic episodes occur at predictable times of the year, with depressive episodes typically occurring during the fall and winter months.”
The reasons for getting seasonal affective disorder are not set in stone. According to The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, seasonal affective disorder may be caused by the change in length of daylight hours from season to season. Most people experience symptoms during the fall and winter months when daylight hours are shorter, resulting in the name “the winter blues.”
Being in college may put students at higher risk than any other age group. According to The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, “younger individuals are at higher risk for seasonal depressive episodes than are older persons … The disorder usually begins when one is in one’s 20s.”
Dawn Pleas-Bailey, vice president for student life, said she knows the disorder from two different angles.
“I know the situation from two levels: personal and professional,” said Pleas-Bailey. She related the situation to personal connections that she has to people who live in northern states.
“I have a lot of friends that work in Vermont and New Hampshire and it’s just snow everywhere and it never leaves and it piles up,” said Pleas-Bailey. “They would talk about how they do a lot of programming in the winter to combat it.”
Pleas-Bailey said students need to know the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder in order to know why they may be feeling down.
“It can be very destructive to your campus if people don’t realize what it is,” said Pleas-Bailey.
Felisha Froggatte, education freshman, said she knows what it’s like to have seasonal affective disorder. During her episodes, Froggatte said, “I like to be in the dark. I’m very emotional and I don’t talk as much.”
Treating her seasonal affective disorder has proven to be difficult while away from home.
“Every light in the house at home is the kind of light I’m supposed to be in but we obviously don’t have that here so I can’t treat it here,” said Froggatte. “I can’t take any medicine for it.”
Froggatte said, “it sucks.”
Maggie Collett is a freshman majoring in communication. You may e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Edited by Clinton Dick, Sports editor.