How to Prevent the Winter Blues

January 12, 2015

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Photo Courtesy: mapichai

Have you ever experienced feelings of moodiness or depression during the cold winter months? Recognizing the symptoms and understanding the possible cause can help you find a solution. UNH has resources to assist you.

The changing seasons can be the cause of a disorder known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression that comes and goes with the transitions from season to season. It occurs in most people during the transition from fall to winter. It’s important to be able to recognize the symptoms associated with SAD so you can see a doctor if necessary.

Common symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Tiredness/low energy
  • Problems getting along with others
  • Hypersensitivity to rejection
  • Oversleeping
  • Appetite changes
  • Weight gain

The exact cause of SAD has not been identified yet but there are some common factors that have been found to lead to it such as reduced level of sunlight exposure, low serotonin levels, and off balance melatonin levels.

There are different options for treating SAD that suit different needs. Often light therapy is recommended to help restore proper brain chemical balance. UNH Health Services offers free light therapy for students, employees, and dependents over the age of 18. For more information on what light therapy is and how to make an appointment, visit health service’s website. Talk therapy is another option and medication may be prescribed if necessary. For further information on SAD, click here. If you think you’ve experienced symptoms of SAD, recognize your emotions with the changing seasons and don’t suffer through another winter alone. 

Additional resources: 

  • For UNH Employees: The Employee Assistance Program provides confidential, professional support for personal and work concerns at no cost to UNH employees. Contact them via the website or 1-800-424-1749. Use company code "USNH".
  • For UNH Students: The Counseling Center offers Individual Counseling to students. Contact them via their website or 862-2090. Students enrolled in more than 4 credits do not pay any additions fees for service.  Read complete eligibility and cost details here

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