Seasonal Affective Disorder: Not Just in Central Wisconsin

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Winter, early winter, is especially dark. People become particularly isolated in Central Wisconsin during these months.

Those who cope well, like my 87-year-old aunt, keep productively busy with a range of activities from walks, tending animals, baking, sewing, quilting, visiting, sending photos and messages to members of the family in far-flung places.

Altruism abounds. My aunt explains that she spends a great deal of time helping “older folks,” bringing them meals and taking them places. In her area, “older folks” are those over 95. There’s a lot to be said for living in Central Wisconsin.

Many people, whether in Central Wisconsin or many other places, experience a form of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This manifests when light changes affect a person’s mood and thinking. If this occurs in winter, it is known as Winter Season Affective Disorder.

One form of treatment is a specially designed light box: a person sits in a certain manner within a designated distance from this apparatus. Many find this helps their depression.

More information about SAD can be obtained from:

Mayo Clinic Information on Seasonal Affective Disorder

The scientific research on SAD is especially interesting and complex. Some studies show higher incidence of SAD with increasing latitude in the Northern Hemisphere; others do not. For those interested in a review paper citing many primary sources, AMHF recommends:

Winter Seasonal Affective Disorder: A Global, Biocultural Perspective, by Barry S. Whitehead

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