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Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

  • Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression related to the changes in the seasons
  • Usually starts in the fall and continues into the winter months; Occurs less often in the spring and early summer months
  • Begins and ends about the same time every year
  • May start out mild and become more severe as the season progresses
  • Occurs more often in women than men and in younger adults than older adults


  • Feeling depressed most of the day; nearly every day
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having low energy
  • Problems with sleeping
  • Changes in your appetite or weight
  • Feeling sluggish or agitated
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless, or guilty
  • Frequent thoughts of death of suicide

Specific fall and winter symptoms

  • Oversleeping
  • Appetite changes, especially craving foods high in carbs
  • Weight gain
  • Tiredness or low energy

Specific spring and summer symptoms

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Agitation or anxiety

When to see a doctor

  • It is normal to have some days when you feel down, but if you feel down for days at a time and cannot get motivated to do activities you normally enjoy.
  • If your sleep patterns and appetite have changed; turn to alcohol for comfort or relaxation; or feel helpless of think of suicide

Possible treatments

  • Light therapy
  • Medication
  • Psychotherapy

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