The Student News Site of Black River Falls High School

BRFHS Paw Print

The Student News Site of Black River Falls High School

BRFHS Paw Print

The Student News Site of Black River Falls High School

BRFHS Paw Print

How Thanksgiving Affects Your Mind


It’s almost time for Thanksgiving, and while certain people may be super happy for this holiday, others may not exactly feel as happy, or even excited.

During any holiday, really, there will always be the people that really enjoy all of the events that occur. Whether it’s eating all of the food, spending time with family, or taking a nap after eating all of that turkey. But on the other hand, there are many people who get very stressed around this time because of all of the travel, having so many people under the same roof at once, or maybe not having anyone with them at all.

“Many people tend to dismiss seasonal mood changes as ‘the holiday blues,’ when too often these mood changes extend past the end of the year,” says Lydia Lewis, the executive producer of the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association (DMDA).

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Research from a study done by Patricia Schafer shows that when it comes to any holiday, there are at least 22 million Americans out there who have a mood disorder called SAD. SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder. This disorder makes a person very stressed or even depressed around the holidays, could cause fatigue, and overindulgence of food or alcohol. Someone who has SAD may very well act much like someone who is bipolar, and there is even a chance that they may have both disorders. In most cases, SAD appears in people who live farther away from the equator, so people who live in Brazil have less of a chance of getting SAD, than someone who lives here in Wisconsin.

“The good news is that there is a wealth of research published in psychiatric medical, biomedical, psychological and health journals and on the Internet concerning SAD. The bad news is that there are many physicians, therapists, counselors and social workers who have never heard of SAD, and yet it may be affecting some of their clients,” wrote Norman Rosenthal in his book “Winter Blues.”

There are different types of therapy to help people who have SAD, but some types don’t work for everyone. Many times, people are prescribed to an antidepressant. But in order to be allowed antidepressants, one must first pass a psychiatric evaluation. Another type of common therapy is light therapy. Light therapy is one type of therapy that has shown much improvement in some SAD patients, but there are still a few people who are unaffected by this type of therapy.

“Light therapy has been found to be very beneficial to the SAD sufferer. But some research has found it does not matter if one sits under the lights. Each individual is different and each body has its own circadian rhythm,” according to Patricia Schafer in “ ‘Tis The Season For SAD, Holiday Depression.

SAD is a disorder that may appear within anyone. And due to some research that had been done with the high school, a student was found to possibly have this disorder. Sophomore Evan Holmes had shown several symptoms from SAD, and while he may not even have SAD, he isn’t very affected by any of this information.

“It doesn’t change anything, in fact it sounds kind of cool. I never thought that this was an actual disorder or anything. It was just kind of normal for me,” said Holmes.

So one may ask, how does someone get SAD? Well so far, all of the research that has been conducted can only show us one way that someone can get SAD. It all leads to melatonin and sunlight. Now, that sounds like a very weird combination, but there is logical reasoning behind it. Melatonin is a medicine that is commonly used for people who have trouble sleeping. In many cases, it is seen as a gummy.

“During the daytime hours, melatonin decreases substantially. Sunlight is believed to decrease the secretion of melatonin. In the cloudy winter months, the individual is not receiving enough sunlight, therefore bright light therapy is prescribed and has been found to be an effective treatment,” according to Fall and Winter Months Mark Start of Seasonal Affective Disorder, a study on

People should not be worried if they were to have this disorder. There are many different types of treatments, and this disorder is mainly just about pushing people to their limits.

“The holidays are a time when emotions get triggered and the belief that we must be happy and be at our emotional best puts a lot of pressure on people,” said Lewis.

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How Thanksgiving Affects Your Mind