Connect with us


Feeling SAD? OhioHealth doc offers FAQ on seasonal affective disorder

Regina Fox



With the days getting shorter, the clouds getting thicker, and the temperatures getting colder, you may be noticing yourself feeling sluggish, sad, and maybe even a little depressed. Year after year, thousands of Ohioans are plagued by Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD for short.

Unfortunately, there’s still no way for us to fast forward to May, which is why Dr. Megan Schabbing, OhioHealth Medical Director of Psychiatric Emergency Services, and her team work tirelessly to help those affected make it through the season.

Dr. Schabbing was able to carve time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions about the nature of SAD, and what you can do to help alleviate its symptoms.

614: What are some causes of SAD?

Dr. Schabbing: The exact cause of SAD is unknown. However, there is evidence to suggest that disruption in circadian rhythms plays a role in SAD. Since SAD is a subtype of major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder, it’s also suspected that genetic factors and neurotransmitter dysfunction are likely causes, as well.   

614: What are some of the symptoms of SAD?

Dr. Schabbing: The most common type of SAD, with fall-winter onset, is characterized by depressed mood, low energy, increased sleep, and increased appetite.      

614: Do you need an official diagnosis from a doctor to treat SAD?

Dr. Schabbing: SAD should be diagnosed by a clinician because other medical problems can cause the same symptoms seen in SAD, including problems with sleep, appetite, or energy. 


614: Are there any “at home” remedies for SAD?

Dr. Schabbing: The most evidence-based treatment for SAD is prescribed by a clinician, which includes an anti-depressant medication plus bright light therapy.  As with other types of depression, a regular exercise regimen, healthy diet, and positive coping strategies for stress can also be helpful. 

614: What are some of the first step one should take after identifying they suffer from SAD?

Dr. Schabbing: One should first be evaluated by a primary care physician, to make sure that the symptoms are not related to a medical condition, such as anemia or a thyroid disorder.

614: What are some tips/suggestions for people who know/live with/love someone affected by SAD?

Dr. Schabbing: While it might seem, at times, that someone with SAD is simply being “moody” or “lazy,” it’s important to remember that SAD is a brain disorder.  Similar to other medical problems, SAD is a treatable condition, so it’s important to encourage someone who is affected by SAD to seek treatment.   

For more on Dr. Schabbing, click here. For more on Seasonal Affective Disorder, click here.

When I'm not weaving a beautiful tapestry of words, I'm likely digging through jewels and vinyls at an antique shop near you.

Continue Reading


Zoo has the cure to COVID blues: Sea lions




Photo by Lori Schmidt

Pablo Joury, director of the pinnipeds program at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, reaches for a fish. As he grabs the fish and cocks back to throw it into a medium-sized sea lion pool, 20-year-old Ayla dives gracefully without hesitation into the pool, chasing the fish as her snack.

Snack finished and back on land, Ayla steps up onto a rock-like platform, giving multiple lip-to-lip kisses to Joury. Those in attendance gushed.

This scene at the grand opening of the Adventure Cove, a passion project of the zoo since Jan. 2016, isn’t always a common occurrence between zoo trainers and their animals. The relationship between Joury, Ayla, and the other Adventure Cove sea lions (Bodega, Simba, Toby, and Banana among them), is the result of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s longtime devotion to sea lions and the two years that Joury's team spent in Florida preparing the animals for transportation to Columbus.

Ever since falling in love with a sea lion exhibit in France at the age of 6, Joury has spent much of his life dedicated to studying and caring for sea lions. Two years ago he made the leap over to the United States to join the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

Photo by Lori Schmidt

“I know no place like that in the world for sea lions and seals,” Joury said. “I think it's paradise. There is nothing like that all around the world.”

Something that the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium does particularly well is listening to their guests and responding accordingly. When zoo employees heard that its guests wanted more attractions at the front of the park and at the same time expressed an enthusiastic love for sea lions, the idea for Adventure Cove was born.

“Sea lions are very, very social when they set out to relocate these animals, they were diligent about placing them with a responsible organization,” said Suzi Rapp, vice president of animal programs at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

As COVID-19 requires social-distancing in public spaces, this a perfect time for guests to reconnect with the natural world without getting too close to other people. While guests walked through the tunnel for the first time, sea lions would boop their noses on the glass at the sight of humans, a sweet sign that they missed human interaction.

“As I was walking through and being the only one here, they would pop up and wonder what in the world was going on. So I think they missed us, you know, and I'm really glad to see our guests back in and being able to enjoy themselves,” said Tom Staff, president and CEO of the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium.

The $40 million indoor tunnel exhibit holds approximately 375,00 gallons of saltwater, runs 60 feet long, and has three miles of pipes underneath to ensure that the sea lions have the highest quality living environment. 

“I've been in this business 40 years, I've been to zoos all over the world, and I've never seen an exhibit that touches this one,” Rapp said.

Sea lions in captivity typically live 25 to 35 years. Bodega, the oldest sea lion at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, is currently 24-years old.

Another addition to the front of the park includes an homage to the man who will retire from the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium at the end of the year. Jack Hanna’s Animal Encounters Village is an indoor-outdoor exhibit that will feature a rotating cast of 80 animals. Recently, guests were greeted by lemurs, toucans, capybaras, and two cheetahs born by in vitro fertilization transfer, the first of their kind.

Photo by Lori Schmidt

Although the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium is very excited to be inviting guests back, it did take a major financial hit because of COVID-19. Unlike restaurants and bars, the zoo could not serve guests but still had to employ people to enrich and care for the animals. 

During the shutdown, The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium lost hundreds of thousands of dollars per day, according to Rapp, and are still losing around $850,000 every week even while open again. She said that the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium expects to be $30 million in debt by the end of the year.

There is still hope, however, once we are free from the COVID cloud due to how much the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium means to the area.

“This community loves their zoo,” Rapp said.

Continue Reading


Missing Huntington Park this summer? Come on down this weekend for some fun




While it may not be in the form of homers and hotdogs, there is still fun to be had at Huntington Park this summer. This Friday, Huntington Park opens its Movie Nights program with a ROAR. 

To kick off the series, the Huntington Park video board will feature Jurassic Park on Friday and Frozen II on Saturday night.

Both movies will begin at 8 p.m., with doors opening at 7 p.m. Limited tickets will be available at the gate, so buy your tickets in advance to Friday’s showing here or Saturday’s showing here

All tickets for Friday’s show are $5. Ticket prices on Saturday are adults for $5, children ages 3 through 14 for $4, and children 2 and under get in free. All adult guests are required to sign a waiver, which you can download and print in advance to make your movie night even easier. 

Make sure to bring a blanket for a spot in the outfield to enjoy the films with safe social distancing from other guests. Also, on a first-come, first-served basis, guests will be allowed to sit in the grandstand on the third-base side.

For more information on Huntington Park Movie Nights, click here.

Continue Reading

Health & Fitness

Meditation Monday

Julian Foglietti



Meditation is continually lauded by doctors, mental health experts, and self help gurus for the benefits it has on both our physical and mental health. In an effort to offer something restorative, as we navigate these difficult times, (614) is teaming up with meditation experts to bring you moments of rest through all the stress. This week's meditation is led by Marcia Miller of Yoga on High. An instructor for over 40 years, Marcia is also a Certified Reiki Master Teacher, and sits on the community advisory board for The Ohio State University's Center for Integrated Health and Wellness.

Continue Reading