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Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression brought on by certain seasons — usually winter but less commonly summer too.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD as it is commonly known) is a mental health condition which is brought about by the changing seasons. It is a form of depression which usually occurs during the dark autumn and winter months when the nights are long and there is less sunlight. The condition usually improves with the onset of spring.

Less common but equally debilitating is summer SAD. Sufferers of this type of depression exhibit the same symptoms as winter SAD but they are brought about by the onset of the brighter spring/summer months.

Seasonal Affective Disorder Symptoms

People with SAD are deeply affected by the seasonal changes and they become depressed, irritable, agitated, overly tired and restless. They may find it difficult to concentrate and very often they crave certain food which leads to weight gain.

Symptoms of SAD include:

Seasonal Affective Disorder Treatment

Treatment is available to alleviate the symptoms. Treatment for SAD includes:

  • Light therapy — exposure to light via a piece of equipment called a light box
  • Physical exercise — such as walking, jogging, any type of sport etc
  • Psychotherapy — GPs can recommend a good psychotherapist or counsellor
  • Medication — in severe cases a GP may recommend anti-depressants for short-term use

With treatment and support it is possible to manage SAD effectively.