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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Murray State chapter.

Winter is right around the corner and with that comes cold weather and early sunsets. This time of year many people experience feelings of sadness and are unsure as to why. These feelings could potentially be caused by seasonal affective disorder.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer. Depressive episodes linked to the summer can occur but are much less common than winter episodes of SAD. If you are experiencing SAD know you are not alone.

“Six percent of the US population, primarily in northern climates, is affected by SAD in its most marked form. Another 14 percent of the adult US population suffers from a lesser form of seasonal mood changes, known as winter blues. Of course, seasonality affects people all over the world. The prevalence of SAD in Oslo, Norway, was reported as 14 percent in contrast to 4.7 percent in New York City. In fact, someone may have winter blues while living in southern climates and convert to full-blown SAD if he or she moves to a northern climate.” – Norman E. Rosenthal, MD, a retiree from the National Institutes of Mental Health

The National Institute of Mental Health states the symptoms of SAD can include the following.

Symptoms of the Winter Pattern of SAD include:

  • Having low energy
  • Hypersomnia
  • Overeating
  • Weight gain
  • Craving for carbohydrates
  • Social withdrawal (feel like “hibernating”)

Symptoms of the less frequently occurring summer seasonal affective disorder include:

  • Poor appetite with associated weight loss
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Episodes of violent behavior

Though these symptoms are common, everyone experiences them differently. It is okay to not be okay. There are ways to help you get through this season of your life. 

There is no set way to treat SAD. Talking to a doctor to learn about different options for you may be ideal if any symptoms are prolonged. Potential treatments may include short-term medication or counseling. Surrounding yourself with support, people who will uplift you and get you moving can help lessen some symptoms of SAD.

SAD is not an easy thing to deal with. Some days it can feel impossible to get out of bed, but remember you will get through this. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help or talk through what is going on. These feelings will end and you will begin to feel like yourself again. 




National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255); www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Suicide Prevention, Awareness, and Support: www.suicide.org

Crisis Text Line: Text REASON to 741741 (free, confidential and 24/7)

Sarah Burden

Murray State '20

Sarah Burden is a senior at Murray State University. She is a PR major and minoring in Journalism. She is a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha and loves her ladybugs. In her free time she enjoys experimenting with makeup, drinking coffee, posting on social media and spending time with her bird. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter @sarahburden__