Understanding Seasonal Affective Disorder
Doctors & Healthcare Providers
November 14, 2023

Understanding Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression prevalent in winter, affecting mood and energy, but can be managed with wellness practices, engaging activities, and medical consultation if needed.

Have you ever wondered why so people feel down during the winter months?  About 5% of adults have a diagnosis for this called Seasonal Affective Disorder.  This is a type of depression, that for many, as winter progresses, feelings of depression grow.  Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), lasts for about 40% of the year, starting in the fall, with its strongest symptoms occurring between January and February.  Many people will chalk SAD up to the “Winter Blues”.  It’s best not to look at these signs and symptoms so casually.

  • Feeling sad or down nearly every day for most of the day
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Lack of energy
  • Wanting extra sleep
  • Carb cravings, moments of over eating or weight gain
  • Finding it difficult to focus
  • Guilty or hopeless feelings
  • Thoughts of suicide

SAD can also occur in the spring or summer, even though it is less likely.  During those months, the signs and symptoms of this depressions, sometimes called Summer Depressions, may look different.  SAD symptoms during the spring and summer can range from insomnia, lack of appetite, weight loss, to increased agitation or anxiety.

Just because you have a day or two where you don’t feel yourself and you may lack motivation, doesn’t necessary mean you are depressed or have SAD.  If you are looking to combat the symptoms of SAD naturally, here are some tips:

  1. Practice Wellness! Get at least 7 hours of sleep in each night and increase your activity level to help stabilize your mood.
  2. Get a Hobby! Keep busy with books, house projects, or setting personal goals to focus on something other than feelings of sadness.
  3. Get Up, Get Dressed and Find Your Happy Place to help combat the feelings of depressions.

If natural interventions don’t work and any of these feelings worsen, consult with your doctor.

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