Seasonal Affective Disorder

What: form of depression with onset in winter months
Cause: decreased amount of daylight, higher production of melatonin
When: typically spanning October to March, when daylight hours are shorter


  • striking change in mood from summer to winter
  • physical slowing down
  • feeling blue to totally dysfunctional
  • trouble making it to class
  • lose interest in school and friends
  • more interpersonal relationship problems
  • increase in need for sleep
  • larger appetite
  • weight gain of 10-15 lbs.
  • low energy level
  • craving for carbohydrate-rich foods

What You Can Do

  • take regular walks outdoors
  • eat healthy, regular outdoor exercise, contact with friends
  • sit in bright spots when indoors
  • bright light therapy - using full-spectrum light bulbs in the early morning
  • antidepressant medication
  • consider moving to a sunnier local, closer to the equator


Moreines, R. (1989) Light up your blues - A guide to overcoming seasonal depression and fatigue.


Dr. Linda Keeler, psychiatrist
Counseling And Psychological Services
2nd Floor Watkins Health Center


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