By Emmelien Graham
Jesuit Crusader (Portland, Oregon)
As the winter darkness dawns upon Jesuit High School, students tend to feel a little “S.A.D”.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a controversial topic that noted by many students, teachers, or workers, who may live in a region of harsh weather conditions during a specific season, causing them to feel down, or unhappy.
“This definitely effects many students at Jesuit,” junior Alli Colombo said. “I begin to feel it kick in toward the middle of winter,as it carries on through the end of March. The dark weather causes me to feel claustrophobic, sad, anxious toward many things, and I have an extremely hard time falling asleep.”
Most people with S.A.D respond to a low dose of the hormone melatonin in the afternoon to reset their body clocks to normal.
“Research has found that there is a decreased level of serotonin in individuals during the winter months when faced with weeks upon weeks with little exposure to the sun,” mother of David Bridges and surgical nurse Teresa Bridges said.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which regulates an individual’s appetite, sleep, memory and moods. Incidence level can be up to one of ten adults who live in darker parts of the world. One result is those affected crave increased amounts of carbohydrates and experience weight gain, according to Teresa Bridges.
One of the treatments is light therapy, an increase of direct light on the individual. This therapy causes a decrease in the release of melatonin in an individual. Sunlight shuts off the production of melatonin. Sunlight unhindered by sunglasses reaches the pineal gland, where the melatonin hormone is released. Light therapy and dawn simulation together produce results equal to that given by antidepressants, according to Teresa Bridges.
“I believe that it is something that can truly affect you both negatively and positively,” guidance counselor Mr. Barry said. Usually one would see it at Jesuit once the grey starts to roll in and the sun goes away for months. In Oregon, the rain, the grayness, non-ability to go outside and enjoy activities causes S.A.D to take its toll.
There are many examples in Jesuit, or in Oregon, that truly love the harsh winter and their “S.A.D” would be in the summer due to the warmth and sun.
“If you may think that you suffer from S.A.D, please consult with your doctor. There are multiple treatment options available and your doctor can help find the one that is best for you” trainer Jen Adams said.
Season Affective Disorder can affect you at anytime depending on your outlook and reaction to climate change. Wether you live in the hottest region of the world, or the coldest, your mood will vary. Sometimes, S.A.D affects people, even if they do not realize it.
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Photo Credit: Jesuit Crusader