Sunday, November 1, 2009

Feeling Blue This Season?

SAD makes things seem blue.

Even though Fall has only just begun, winter is on the approach, daylight hours get shorter and the nights grow longer. The drop in temperature leads many people indoors to warm cozy fireplaces and soft thick blankets. However, there tends to be an increase in cases of depression. What causes the increase in depression and what can be done to counter the effects?

This seasonal increase in depression is often referred to as SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder. It is caused by a lack of melatonin, a chemical secreted by the pineal gland in the middle of the brain, which helps set one's internal clock and the sleep/wake cycle.

According to the editorial staff at there are treatments for SAD that can help relieve depression, one of which is light therapy. Since melatonin is secreted most when the body is exposed to sunlight, the easiest remedy for SAD is to go outside. If that doesn't fit into ones schedule, a prescription of melatonin might be preferable.

"I usually feel tired and let down around this time," Chance Clark said.

A Jr. at OU, Chance Clark is a Finance major who enjoys spending time with friends and spending time outside. When the temperature drops though, he spends more time inside and his melatonin levels slowly start to vary.

"I've never taken melatonin. Usually I just try to sit outside bundled up in warm clothes. It helps a little, but after graduation I'm heading south away from the cold."

When the light goes away and depression start to sink in, remember to go outside and soak up some rays to keep them blues away.

Chance Clark enjoying a hike in Poteau Oklahoma.

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