Seasonal Affective Disorder

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Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that is dependent on the seasons. The most common season for people to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder is winter, although some people do experience SAD during the spring and summer. Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder often include:

  • Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Having low energy
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having problems with sleeping
  • Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
  • Feeling sluggish or agitated
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide (Mayo Clinic)

People with relatives that suffer from mental illness are often more susceptible to being affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder. There are, however, ways to alleviate the symptoms of SAD. One of the most common treatments to help those with Seasonal Affective Disorder is light therapy, which utilizes a special lamp called a “light box.”

Lifestyle measures, such as regular exercise, a healthy diet, and stress management, can also greatly help those suffering from SAD. Talk therapy has also been shown effective in alleviating discomfort due to Seasonal Depression.

It is estimated that around 10 million Americans are affected by SAD, with an average age of onset around 20 years old. Around 20-30% of Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder.


Mayo Clinic

NHS Choices

Psychology Today on Seasonal Affective Disorder