Seasonal depression hits Delaware Valley this year

By John Del Sordo
April 28, 2005

The winter’s tyrant rule has finally come to an end, and summer has begun to shine through, giving many students an extra swagger in their steps. Warm spring weather is cracking people’s winter shells, and snapping them out of hibernation, and back into summer mode. Even though many attribute the sudden burst of happiness, both in class rooms and dorm rooms, to simply people enjoying the nice weather, studies have proven that the weather can actually affect chemical balances in the brain that directly affect mood patterns and depression. When the weather is nice, these chemicals remain balanced causing euphoria.

Weather plays an important part in the life of the average college student whether they realize this or not. Normal stressful things happen in everyone’s life, but if weather changes are also attached to extra stress and sadness, depression can be a much more powerful force to reckon with. There have been many studies to prove some co-relation between weather and mood swings. However, many people do not look at these symptoms as the physical disorder that it is. It has even been found that suicide rates are higher in areas where the weather is too hot or humid, or too cold and dark.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S.A.D., is the most common form of winter depression that affects an estimated half a million people every winter between September and April, in particular during December, January and February. These months prove brutal to many students who might not even realize the correlation between the poor weather and their depression. What many people casually dismiss as “the winter blues” is actually caused by a biochemical imbalance in the hypothalamus part of the brain due to the shortening of daylight hours and the lack of sunlight in winter. Such imbalances can result in lack of motivation and energy, eventually leading to poor academic, and athletic performance. Katy Kidell, sophomore, major undeclared, said

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John Del Sordo

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