If You Don't Know, Now You Know

by Charlie Rafkin | 1/8/15 11:30pm

Answers to questions you were too afraid to ask.

Q: Is Seasonal Affective Disorder a thing?

A: It’s not just a made-up excuse you use to justify unwarranted grumping at anyone and everyone during the months of January to March. According to an interview of SAD expert Kelly Rohan conducted by the American Psychological Association, SAD differs from the “winter blues” because SAD refers to the “regular seasonal pattern” where people display symptoms of depression during winter months.

Q: What’s the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?

A: This question has hounded me throughout the process of putting this issue together. It was particularly embarrassing when I emailed psychologists asking to interview a psychiatrist. A psychologist is a scientist (who typically has a Ph.D.), while a psychiatrist is a doctor (with an M.D.). Psychiatrists have the power to prescribe medications.

Q: Is mental health being addressed through Moving Dartmouth Forward?

A: Moving Dartmouth Forward attempts to address three tiers — inclusivity, sexual assault, binge drinking — and does not explicitly include mental health. Also worth griping about — the petition to improve counseling services at Dick’s House is listed as “complete” on Improve Dartmouth. Really? They’ve improved their game, sure — but it seems clear that there’s more room for improvement.

Q: I feel stressed and sad a lot. Am I depressed?

A: Maybe. You can be stressed and sad without being conclusively depressed — and most people feel stressed and sad at some point. Depression includes prolonged feelings of sadness or emptiness. If you’re feeling sad and you do want to go get help, you should absolutely reach out to a professional mental health expert.