Can Colors Help You Through SAD?
By: Roseanne Cassar
To all the students attending CSI that feel like you’re in a bubble with the “winter blues”, they’re many students just like you who experience the same symptoms. There is a name for this.
It’s called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This is a real disorder that occurs when seasons’ change every year. Let’s review the effects of SAD, the symptoms of SAD in a more brief detail.
The symptoms of Fall and Winter SAD, Spring and Summer SAD is explained in a Mayo Clinic’s article. The article explains how it affects us personally.
“Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons – SAD begins and ends at about the same time every year.” If your symptoms become too much to handle, there is treatment for you that can help. Treatment for this depression may vary from “light therapy (phototherapy), medications and psychotherapy.”
If experiencing this type of depression – please consult your doctor for help. There are nine signs and symptoms of SAD but we will talk about rive of them.
“Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day.”
“Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed.”
“Having difficulty concentrating.”
“Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty.”
“Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide.”
These symptoms are not specific to any of the seasons – but are signs to look for if you are experiencing this type of depression. For in depth – specific symptoms; let’s take a look at what causes this depression in a seasonal way.
The Symptoms for “Fall and Winter SAD” include: “Over sleeping”, “appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates”, “weight loss”, and “agitation or anxiety”. According to Mayo Clinic’s article, it states that “there’s really no known causes to explain why this disorder occurs to some people but in the study – doctors have found some factors that could give a more definitive explanation on why the disorder happens.” They’re three main causes: “your biological clock (circadian rhythm)”, “serotonin levels”, and “melatonin levels.” It’s interesting enough that this disorder has risk factors.
The article from Mayo Clinic states: The “seasonal affective disorder is diagnosed more often in women than in men.” Also, “SAD occurs more frequently in younger adults than in older adults.” Some risk factors include: “family history”, “having major depression or bipolar disorder”, and “living far from the equator.”
This disorder if not treated can become worse so it would be a great idea to know the signs of SAD. Complication signs include: “other mental health disorders such as anxiety or eating disorders.” “Suicidal thoughts or behavior.”
Now that there is a better understanding what seasonal affective disorder is and how it affects each person differently during the year. However, what if colors can help SAD be more healable as the seasons change?
According to a health practitioner named Karen Erickson, “clothing that’s bright will instantly put you in a cheerful mood and even make others around you feel merry as they visually absorb your brightness.”
If you can’t color coordinate with clothing then try to “brightly accessorize.” Erickson suggests, “Spice a room up with fun – colored pillows, rugs, window treatments, art pieces or plants.” You can try doing a meditation where you’re “visualizing colors.”
According to the health healer, “Erickson strongly suggests that you simply imagine you’re lying on a beach on a gorgeous, sunny day with bright trees and colorful plants around you.” The health healer concludes: “those who have SAD are depressed not only because of the dull weather, but because of something that makes them unhappy on the inside.”
Erickson also adds: “smile, focus on what makes you happy and use color therapy to feel happy all year long!”