Could Seasonal Affective Disorder Be Disrupting the Lives of Northeastern Students?
Becky Venne, a 31-year-old Northeastern graduate student, says she doesn’t socialize much in the winter. In fact, she claims that she finds it hard to get out of bed and spends most of her day watching T.V., satisfying her cravings for carbohydrates and starchy foods.
We’ve all experienced it at some point or another. The weather gets colder, the days become shorter, and no matter how much sleep you had the night before, you still feel tired. These, along with weight gain and feelings of sadness and lethargy are common during the winter months. But what happens when these feelings become debilitating, and begin affecting one’s personal life?
“There is a period of time that I think most people who have SAD realize there is more to it,” said Venne. “It wasn’t until I had some quiet time that I realized this isn’t normal.”
What Venne is referring to is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a mood disorder that more commonly affects people of all ages in the Northern regions of the Unites States.
Although most people experience some forms of depression during the winter months, SAD is diagnosed when this change in mood becomes debilitating, causing a sever impact on the daily life of the individual.
Venne says she was diagnosed with SAD about five years ago, shortly after she moved to Boston. She describes her diagnoses as a long, drawn out process, jumping from doctor to doctor, until finally she found the right psychopharmacologist.
Dr. Elisa Castillo works at the Center For Counseling at Northeastern University, where she works with many students who have been diagnosed with SAD. She explained that there are...
... middle of paper ...
...the answer to SAD? Castillo suggests seeking help through Counseling, such as the Center for Counseling and Student Development.
“The counseling center can provide support, help diagnose SAD, help with referrals to psychiatrists that have experience in this area and follow up with students to make sure the treatment is working,” said Castillo.
Castillo also says that it is important to learn how to manage winter, and can be difficult, especially if someone has moved from a warmer climate to Boston. She recommends finding ways to exercise, socialize, and learn how to have fun both indoors and out.
Venne agrees that it is important to find help if a person is experiencing symptoms of SAD.
“Once I was able to realize what the problem was, I was able gain some sort of control,” said Venne. “I just take one day at a time, and know that summer is on its way.”
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