Winter depression sets in with cooler weather


Winter isn’t always a wonderland. Final exams, breakups, blizzards and other stressful end-of-the-year events may be the cause of depression.

Seasonal affective disorder, commonly referred to as winter depression, affects some of the BYU student population.

WebMD’s Depression Health Center says seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression that occurs the same time every year for someone. For instance, if people notice a significant decrease in their mood around winter, yet their mood is stable during the spring and summer season, they may suffer from the winter blues.

Aaron Larson, associate director of BYU Health Services, suggested that students who feel dissatisfied or low about life visit the student health center.

“Most of our general practitioners here, including our mental health practitioners … are all well versed in treatment of depression,” Larson said. “It is one of the top things we see students for often, especially during the winter months.”

Larson said he did not know whether the heightened amount of health visits during the winter season correlated to seasonal affective disorder, or if other factors contributed to the increased amount of patient visits. Larson said students who are having depression-like symptoms should stop in to make sure things are well.

“It is better to make sure everything is all right than wonder and suffer through things you are not supposed to, or you don’t have to,” he said.

Aubrey Beck, an 18-year-old freshman from Omaha, Neb., said she believes her mood is affected by the change in season. She said her schedule is compromised of mainly evening classes, and the lack of sun during the winter months lowers her productivity level. She said her mood adjusts as winter continues.

“In the winter you don’t really want to go out and walk around or do anything, you just want to sit in your house, which probably has a large impact on (depression),” Beck said.

Aaron Price, a freshman from Burley, Idaho, majoring in life science, said his mood is also affected by the onset of winter. He said Burley has a tendency to get windy, and his distaste for windy conditions transfers to a distaste for winter.

“When winter hits, it is kind of depressing because I don’t get to be out in the sun that much,” Price said. “It brings on weather that I am not comfortable with, and I have to wear so much more clothing.”

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