SAD is more than just feeling sad. How to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder

SAD is the onset of depression that follows a seasonal pattern. It requires more intensive treatment than typical mood swings.

Posted: Dec 27, 2019 7:42 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)- Experts say depression rates are at an all-time high during the winter months. If your mood is particularly low, you could fall victim to Seasonal Affective disorder, or SAD. 

SAD is the onset of depression that follows a seasonal pattern. It requires more intensive treatment than typical mood swings.

Daniel Foti, Associate Professor of Psychological Sciences at Purdue University, said people in arctic areas typically fall victim to SAD because they are furthest from the equator. However, us Hoosiers can get it as well.

That's because during Indiana winters, we can go several days with minimal to no sunlight.

"When I come to work early in the morning it's dark out. When I leave at the end of the day it's dark out, right? I'm mostly sitting in my office all day long," Foti said. "Our brains and our bodies were not built for that. I think we were built to be outside more than we are."

Foti shared some symptoms of SAD to look out for. 

"I would worry about anyone in the wintertime who is becoming pretty isolated [and] not leaving the house very much, becoming maybe disconnected from friends, family, relatives," Foti explained. "Or their mood is feeling abnormally low; much lower than it typically is."

Foti said it's best to keep a routine when you're feeling low. He said just 20 to 30 minutes of exposure to direct sunlight, regular mealtimes and exercise can make a huge difference in your physical and mental health.

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