Seasonal Affective Disorder

What: form of depression with onset in winter months
Cause: decreased amount of daylight, higher production of melatonin
When: typically spanning October to March, when daylight hours are shorter


  • striking change in mood from summer to winter
  • physical slowing down
  • feeling blue to totally dysfunctional
  • trouble making it to class
  • lose interest in school and friends
  • more interpersonal relationship problems
  • increase in need for sleep
  • larger appetite
  • weight gain of 10-15 lbs.
  • low energy level
  • craving for carbohydrate-rich foods

What You Can Do

  • take regular walks outdoors
  • eat healthy, regular outdoor exercise, contact with friends
  • sit in bright spots when indoors
  • bright light therapy - using full-spectrum light bulbs in the early morning
  • antidepressant medication
  • consider moving to a sunnier local, closer to the equator


Moreines, R. (1989) Light up your blues - A guide to overcoming seasonal depression and fatigue.


Dr. Linda Keeler, psychiatrist
Counseling And Psychological Services
2nd Floor Watkins Health Center

Upcoming Events
Countdown to Fresh Check Day



Online resource for college mental health