SAD in the Winter Essay

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SAD in the Winter


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
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“However about 1-4% of people experience severe changes during winter seasons that do impact their ability to function normally.”

Venne, like all people with SAD, could not function normally during the winter, but it was difficult to find a doctor who could pin point exactly what it was that she was experiencing.

“It was hard to find a doctor who excepted the idea of SAD,” said Venne. “There are still many who don’t believe it is real.”

This seems to be a common problem for those in search of a diagnosis. The disorder was recognized in 1845, but it was only named and made official in 1980, making it is a fairly new mood disorder that is slowly gaining acceptance from doctors and psychologists.

Many times the symptoms of SAD, including excessive eating and sleeping, sadness, cravings for starchy and sugary foods, weight gain or loss, insomnia, and loss of desire to socialize or perform normal daily functions, were brushed off as bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is another mood disorder that causes manic episodes of depression. But there is a large difference between the two.

“The difference is it occurs tied to the winter months,” said Harold Zamansky, an abnormal psychology professor at Northeastern University.

Zamansky has a…