The gray skies and short days of winter leave some Ohio residents vulnerable to Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Wendy Thomas, a nurse at Youngstown State University’s Student Health Clinic, said she sees roughly 150 students per week for various ailments and infirmities. The most common symptoms that plague the clinic’s visitors are anxiety, stress and an inability to focus, she said.
Thomas said mood disorders usually result from a combination of factors.
“It depends on what’s going on in someone’s life at that time,” she said.
SAD is a difficult disorder to diagnose, but its treatments — a sun lamp, a healthy diet and a steady routine — are both accessible and effective, Thomas said.
However, if students are using a sun lamp, they should contact a professional, she said. Each person might require a different type of lamp and level of exposure.
Kassandra Opencar, a sophomore at YSU, said she’s already found herself missing classes due to weather worries and emotional sluggishness.
“It was 2 degrees. I couldn’t bring myself to even leave the house and suffer for, like, 40 minutes of actual class. It’s stupid,” she said.
Opencar said she skipped one class toward the end of December, adding that she anticipates taking summer classes. However, she doesn’t plan on skipping any of her summer classes, simply because she won’t have to battle the weather. In addition, the semesters are shorter.
As a commuter student, Opencar lives with her mom, dad, three sisters and a brother. Emotions run high in such a busy household anyway, and with the added stress of the season, she finds herself faced with more obstacles than normal.
Molly Montella, a transfer student from Kent State University, found herself taking an entire spring semester off last year.
“I just didn’t have any drive to even schedule classes when I had to drive so far to school. It made me anxious to think about going out into the cold and having to trek around everywhere only to be in class long enough to warm up and have to leave again. Plus, it debilitates your social life,” she said.