Seasonal Depression

SAD Light

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that affects 10-20% of individuals in the United States. It is triggered by the lack of daylight, during the shorter days of fall and early winter. Depression symptoms often decrease during the spring and summer. Depressive episodes linked to the summer can occur, but are much less common than the winter. SAD is a subtype of depression, it is not just “winter blues.”

Symptoms of clinical depression and SAD include:

  • Sadness persisting most of the time
  • Hopelessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in usual activities
  • Withdrawal from social activities
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Extreme fatigue and lack of energy
  • Feeling “heaviness” in limbs
  • Increased need for sleep
  • Craving for carbohydrates
  • Weight gain
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

If you think you might be suffering from SAD or even a milder winter blues, there are things that might help. These include but aren't limited to:

The Counseling Center has several resources that may help improve depression symptoms, one of which is Light Therapy. Light Therapy has been found to be an effective intervention for SAD symptoms by using artificial light to mimic sunlight. You do not have to be a current client at the Counseling Center to use access Light Therapy. To learn more, call 540-568-6552 or stop by the front desk, 3rd floor of the Student Success Center.

Additional Resources:

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Published: Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Last Updated: Thursday, January 23, 2020

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