The Prowler

Seasonal depression returns

Joseph Granat, Feature Editor

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Winter time is famous for its joyful songs and playful snow, but it is also the time of the year that brings the most dread. Plants start dying and people start freezing. In many ways, every person faces challenges courtesy of Jack Frost.

“Usually winter is hard. I believe that seasonal depression is real. You wake up, and it’s dark, and if you work long hours, and you go home, it’ll be dark. It plays an impact,” North social worker Kassandra Foleno said.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of being depressed due to the change in seasons. Most commonly, the winter season plays a psychological factor into why people become sad once the snow starts falling. Other seasons can also affect a person’s mentality, but not as much as the snow season.

“[SAD] usually starts in the fall and goes away once spring comes,” North social worker Latrina Smith said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics researchers believe a possible cause in manifesting SAD is due to the decreased amount of sunlight that adults and adolescents are exposed to. The human brain produces serotonin and melatonin which fight depression and encourage sleep, respectively. The brain produces this through its exposure to sunlight. With less exposure to the sun, people are susceptible to the possibility of becoming depressed.

“[SAD] is more correlated to lack of sunlight. We are inside for most of the sunlight, so we are not getting the Vitamin C we need,” North Catalyst director Tami Curry said.

The materialization of SAD can be described as an in increase in feeling down every day, drowsy, tired and even a feeling of hopelessness. Symptoms could include having trouble sleeping, the body is sluggish and agitated, and having trouble concentrating.

“It’s close to depression. Some of the symptoms mirror [SAD]. The difference is SAD occurs in certain times of the year,” Curry said.

The start of the winter season brings distress to North students. With semester exams around the corner and the amount of homework skyrocketing, no wonder students are having difficulty holding their smiles. Students who have difficulty focusing on classes or feel completely hopeless may be experiencing symptoms of SAD.

“[The amount of students] changes all the time, but I guess the average I see around this time is 7-8 kids a week,” Foleno said.

During the depressing cold season, students of North not only go through the responsibilities of schoolwork, but also the struggles of puberty and maturity.

“You’re becoming more mature and with that comes problems on a bigger scale. You need to get a job and do finance and changes on the body and it becomes stressful,” senior Nico Lipari said.

The dire emotions students go through may be more exaggerated than they think. Calling oneself ‘depressed’ has become one of the biggest mainstream sayings. People easily diagnose themselves as depressed believing the world is out to get them.

“I use rational problem-solving when talking to kids about what they’re going through. But, some don’t really want it fixed. They just want to talk it out,” Foleno said.

People who fear that they may have seasonal depression are recommended to speak with a mental health professional to be diagnosed. The best way to treat the disorder is for people to stay physically active and expose themselves to sunlight.

“I would definitely say talk to a doctor. There may be other people in the family who suffer with [SAD]. If someone already has a mental issue, [SAD] may worsen it,” Smith said.

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The student news site of Plainfield North High School
Seasonal depression returns