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Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) When Winter Gets You Down.

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Presentation on theme: "Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) When Winter Gets You Down."— Presentation transcript:

1 Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) When Winter Gets You Down

2 What is SAD? Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of winter depression that affects an estimated half a million people every year. It is believed to be caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. In the winter there is a decrease in the amount of natural light that reaches us. This is due partly to less daylight hours and partly to changing weather patterns. This lack of sunlight causes a reduction in serotonin production and an increase in the level of melatonin. This produces the symptoms associated with SAD.

3 Symptoms of SAD Sleeping Problems: Not being able to stay awake Disturbed/Uneasy Sleep Oversleeping Lethargy Depression: Regularly occurring symptoms of depression during the fall or winter months. Including loss of feelings Social Problems: Pulling away from friends Avoiding social situations Mood Changes: Extremes of mood Increase in PMS symptoms in women Diet Changes: Over-eating Increased craving for sugary or carbohydrate rich foods Loss of libido Increase in Anxiety Weakened Immune System

4 Suggestions for Coping with SAD Visit the campus counseling center and discuss symptoms with a counselor. Educate yourself, family and friends regarding SAD to gain their understanding and support. Get as much light as possible and avoid dark environments during daylight hours. Allow natural light to shine through open windows and doors when temperatures are moderate. Exercising daily – outdoors when possible

5 Rearrange workspaces and work near a window, or set up bright lights in your work area. Keep a daily log noting weather conditions, energy levels, moods, appetite/weight, sleep times and activities. Coping with SAD

6 Avoid staying up late, as much as possible, which disrupts sleep schedule and biological clock. Be aware of cold outside temperatures and dress to conserve energy and warmth. Coping with SAD

7 Interesting Facts About SAD SAD was discovered before 1845, but was not officially named until the early 1980s. Over 100 articles have been written on the subject since Rosenthal et al's 1984 paper defined seasonal affective disorder (SAD) for the first time. Medline has included a separate Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) for seasonal affective disorder. As many as 6 of every 100 people in the United States may have SAD.

8 Facts Continued Sad is more common in northern geographic regions, like New England. SAD is more common in women than in men. The most difficult months for SAD sufferers are January and February.

9 Dark and Cold and Sad Bleak till the promise of Spring Winter depression. Haiku by Dr. Raymond W. Lam

10 Bulletin Board submitted by Catherine White, Student Hall Director, Worcester Polytechnic Institute Catherine is a Student Hall Director at Worcester Polytechnic Institute studying Biotechnology and International Studies. Prior to this role, she served as a Resident Assistant. She is originally from New York City and attended Brooklyn Technical High School. On-campus she is involved in Mock Trial, Tech News (our campus newspaper), Mu Sigma Delta (our Pre-Health Society), and EMS.

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