Seasonal Affective Disorder

Overview of Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that occurs during the fall and winter months. People with SAD feel a lot of the symptoms of depression during these times of the year, and they usually get better when the seasons change.

The brain reacts to less sunlight by producing chemicals that affect your sleep-wake cycles, energy and mood. These chemicals include melatonin and serotonin.

Facts about seasonal affective disorder

  • Many people experience symptoms of depression in the fall and winter when days are short and nights are dark. This is called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD for short.
  • While the causes of SAD are not entirely known, researchers believe it is related to changes in circadian rhythms and lack of sunlight.
  • Symptoms of SAD may include feeling hopeless, irritable, or depressed; sleep problems; weight gain; trouble concentrating, and withdrawal from social activities.
  • SAD is more common in women than men, and can be associated with other mental health problems such as substance abuse and suicidal thoughts.

If you suspect you or a loved one might have SAD, contact your doctor for an evaluation and possible treatment options.

symptoms of seasonal affective disorder

  • The most common symptoms of (SAD) are sadness, low energy, and sleep problems.
  • People with this condition may also have changes in appetite, a loss of interest in normal activities, and difficulty concentrating.
  • If you have signs and symptoms of depression, such as low energy,
  • big changes in your eating or sleeping habits,
  • feelings of hopelessness, or thinking about suicide,

Your health care provider will compare your physical exam and medical history to diagnostic criteria.

A drop in serotonin, the brain chemical that helps regulate mood, may play a role in this type of depression. It might also be caused by vitamin D deficiency, which is more common in winter because sunlight helps your body make the hormone that boosts serotonin levels.

Symptoms of SAD can be treated with antidepressants, psychotherapy and light therapy. Your therapist might also recommend a combination of treatment options.

diagnoses of seasonal affective disorder

Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression. It is a subtype of major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder.

If you are diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder, treatment usually includes talk therapy, light therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. Medication and other treatments may not cure the condition, but they can help you feel better.

treatment of SAD

If you have seasonal affective disorder, your doctor can help you find the right treatment. Your GP may recommend using a combination of treatments, such as talking therapies, medication or light therapy.

Symptoms of seasonal affective disorder usually start in fall or winter and last through spring. They can be severe enough to make it difficult to function normally.

The condition is thought to be caused by a change in your brain’s response to less sunlight during the fall and winter. It affects the two chemicals in your brain that regulate sleep-wake cycles, energy and mood — melatonin and serotonin.

Treatment options for SAD include antidepressants, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and light therapy. You can also try things like exercising, eating a balanced diet and taking vitamins and supplements.


If you’re feeling a little more melancholy, sluggish, or depressed during certain seasons of the year, it may be worth talking to your doctor. If you experience feelings of sadness, fatigue, or irritability each year, that’s likely a sign of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Most people who have SAD start feeling symptoms in late fall and get worse through the winter. The decrease in sunlight in the winter disrupts your body’s natural clock, which can trigger depression. It also interferes with your level of serotonin and melatonin, which are brain chemicals that help regulate sleep and mood.

Resources and References: Mind, WebMD, Healthdirect, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Mayo Clinic.

Mental Health - Mind Detox
Mental Health – Mind Detox






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