Mel Rising Dawn Cordeiro
Anchor Staff Writer
The changing of the seasons can be a wonderful time. Fall brings the allure of pumpkin and apple picking, Halloween and parties. Winter brings about the excitement of the holidays and the promise of a new year. For about 44% of all college students, the change of season brings about a change in mentality. These students are affected by a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder, a disorder that brings about a major depressive episode during the colder months.
Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affect more women than they do men. Symptoms can include, but are not limited to: over or under eating, weight loss or gain, loss of energy/fatigue, an increase in physical symptoms such as restlessness, feelings of depression and/or anxiety, changes in sleep patterns, difficulty concentrating, and suicidal thoughts. The effects can range from mild to severe, and are very similar to the symptoms of major depression.
Mental health has become an increasingly important topic in these times of COVID-19. For those already struggling, lockdowns and restrictions made things worse. Although SAD existed before COVID, the imposed restrictions, isolations and fear surrounding potentially catching the virus has the potential to exacerbate pre-existing conditions. If any of these symptoms sounds familiar, it is important to reach out to your doctor, campus health services, the counseling center or an external hotline.
To help alleviate the symptoms it is important to create a routine and to stick to it. Organize schedules to include tasks that need to be accomplished and allow adequate time for meals, self care and other forms of downtime. It is also important to maintain a regular sleep cycle; that is to say it is important to maintain a consistent bedtime and wake time. If a healthcare provider suggests or prescribes something, it is worth listening to.
If you are struggling and feel that you would benefit from reaching out, please contact the Counseling Center at (401) 456-8094, the H.O.P.E. Line, which can be accessed 24/7 at (401) 456-4673, or Health Services at (401) 456-8055. If you are feeling suicidal, please do not hesitate to call the H.O.P.E. Line or 911.