By Hailey Massey | Assistant Editor |
Winter can be hard for Texans: a sudden change from a warm autumn to a blistering cold can be trying on the body and on the mental state. Many people residing in naturally hot areas copy by layering up, turning up the heaters in their homes and getting hot beverages whenever they can in order to brave through the cold. However, despite the cozy mentality that most people get around the winter season, many claim to get the complete opposite- seasonal depression.
What many people don’t know is that patients can be diagnosed with seasonal depression, but it’s not called that. Its known as Seasonal Affective Disorder; or SAD and 6.8 percent of the United States’ population suffers from it. Despite its given name, SAD is a variant of Bipolar depression, but many people disagree with it being closely related because they rather have it categorized into the full bipolar spectrum. Despite the prescription medication designed for treating Seasonal Affective Disorder, many people argue that SAD simply doesn’t exist and that it’s an excuse to take too many sick days off of work during the winter.
The reality of having Seasonal Affective Disorder is a combination of anti-depressants, choosing the perfect light therapy box out of multiple models, hoping for the sun to come out, and constantly being tired. Mood swings, lethargic behavior, lack of appetite, and a weakened immune system are things that people deal with every day, but people diagnose with SAD are forced to cope with these symptoms combined every day; adding another level of fatigue.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is very real and valid, much like depression and bipolar disorder is. Many mental disorders go through a period of close observation and stigma after they’re classified as real illnesses that can be treated. SAD is still going through that phase of disbelief but as long as those diagnosed with it are able to cope with it through proper therapy and care, the stigma around it doesn’t matter.