Dean of Students

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a specific type of depression that occurs at certain times of the year, most commonly with symptoms starting in the late fall and early winter. Living in a place with short winter days and limited sunlight, such as Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, can make students more susceptible to seasonal affective disorder. The symptoms of SAD are similar to other forms of depression and include a loss of interest in activities that were once pleasurable, changes in eating and sleeping, loss of energy and the ability to concentrate, hopelessness, and social withdrawal. Fortunately, seasonal affective disorder is very treatable. Many people respond favorably to treatments, including psychotherapy, light therapy, and/or medications. SAD is not something that an individual has to just “tough out” and accept as part of living in this Northern region. Help is available.

When you observe a student struggling with seasonal affective disorder: