Utah is a common place for seasonal depression due to it’s short and cold winter days.
One of the greatest things about Utah is the four seasons residents experience each year. They have the luxury of skiing, sledding and enjoying snow in the winter to swimming, hiking and other sports in the summer. However, some people find themselves experiencing depression during the dark, cold winter months. This is called Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.
SAD occurs in December, January and February. Symptoms decline in March and April, leading to the warm and sunny summer months. People who suffer from SAD experience regular depression. Some symptoms include low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, feelings of sadness or loneliness and anxiety.
SAD is more common in Utah than in other states due to the cold winters and shorter days.
Feeling depressed and sad when its dark or rainy is usually considered a very minor case of SAD. The largest cases of SAD happen in areas where daylight is the shortest, like Alaska and Canada.
SAD occurs mainly in women and adolescents but is not limited to those demographics. According to the Utah Surgical Center, up to 25 percent of the population may suffer SAD symptoms, and 5 percent experience the full disorder.
Light Therapy is helpful for people who suffer from SAD. The UVU health center, located in SC 221, is a great resource for light therapy, and students who feel they may be suffering from SAD should visit the Student Health Center for a health evaluation and possible treatment.
The health center is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. by appointment only and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for those who want to visit the Mental Health Services office.
SAD is a common type of depression that should not be taken lightly. If you or a friend knows someone who is experiencing symptoms of depression or other health issues, direct them to the UVU health center immediately.
For more information regarding Seasonal Affective Disorder or the UVU health center- contact 801-863-8876, or stop by during regular business hours.
By Kari Harbath