What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal Affective Disorder SAD

Seasonal Affective Disorder SAD

Seasonal Affective Disorder with the acronym S.A.D. affects sufferers primarily during the winter and spring seasons.  The winter season brings less sunlight, early darkness in the evening, colder temperatures, terrible weather, and change of the seasons.

It has been found that many with SAD found that one of the main symptoms is that it triggers depression.  It was discovered in the United States by Dr. Norman Rosenthal in 1984.  This condition is unfortunately commonly undiagnosed and this makes it difficult for people to get diagnosed and receive proper treatment.  It takes approximately two to three years for patients with SAD symptoms to be diagnosed by their physician.  Research by a UK organization called Mind, provides support to those with mental health issues, has found that approximately 10% of the general population in Europe has seasonal affective disorder.  The Cleveland Clinic has found that within the United States there about 500,000 people who suffer from SAD, and approximately 10%-20% of the US population battle with milder forms of seasonal affective disorder.

Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Sleep problems
  • Lack of libido
  • Lowered immune system
  • Relationship problems and lack of social interaction
  • Weight gain and overeating
  • Worrisome and guilt feelings
  • Unable to concentrate

There are no known causes of SAD but research has found that the change of seasons and the change in less light is a main trigger of the disorder. When there isn’t enough light, certain functions slow down and stop gradually in the body.  Add on lower serotonin levels which is known to appear in people who suffer with depression.

Treatments for SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

There are several treatments that have had positive results for most sufferers such as antidepressant prescribed medications and bright light therapy (phototherapy).  The Social Affective Disorder Association (SADA) has found that bright light therapy is the most effective therapy option.  Over 85% diagnosed SAD sufferers have found that the bright light therapy worked for them.  Bright light therapy involves exposure to the light provided from the light therapy box for about 2 hours per day.  The light mimics outside sunlight and has an intense positive effect on SAD sufferers.  Researchers believe the artificial light works by helping the chemicals in the brain linked to the patient’s mood eases the SAD symptoms.

Additional options of SAD therapy include:

  • Counseling
  • Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)
  • Psychotherapy

The Social Affective Disorder Association (SADA) recommends that sufferers should avoid stress as much as possible, get as much exposure to daily light as they can, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.


Comments are closed.

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A method by which the reader does not feel pushed in to feeling they should
pick sides. You got a true gift so kindly keep up the great writing!

I never thought about SAD being a possible reason for the huge change in my life/mood this year.

I used to have this every year back when my depression wasn’t treated. Luckily I went on antidepressants for a few years & now I am better about both the depression & SAD!

Never heard of this before, thank you for spreading awareness.

my hubby has S.A.D. — we’ve found ways to help offset the impact but it’s a struggle 🙁

Sometimes I wonder if my mood is affected by the seasons. So much of winter is spent indoors that I think it causes me to be irritable and tired.

Several people in my family deal with this. I know it gets me if it is a really bad season.

There are definitely times I wonder if I have this. Especially when it’s been raining for a week straight!

Thank you for the solutions and helpful tips.

I’ve always thought I had this. I think this is one of those disorders that people don’t believe in.

A friend of mine from high school suffers from SAD. Definitely hard when you live in part of the country where the summer is short and so are the days. I don’t have actual SAD, but I know that even I feel better when the sun is out. I just makes you feel so much better!

My big gets really depressed in the wine. As soon as the sun goes away.

I have not heard of this either. Those systems are depression and I suffer from a few all the time. Mugging days are the worst for me.

We are fairly certain that my mother has this. We’ve encouraged her to talk to her doctor about it but she hasn’t yet. I can really see a difference in her when its bothering her.

It is good that conditions like this one are getting more attention because it means more people will be able to get help.

UGH! I definitely have this!! I need to move to a place with milder winters for sure.

While I don’t suffer from S.A.D., I do tend to get a little blue during the winter months. It seems to affect everyone in my home to some degree.

Never heard about this disorder before. Thank you for this article.

I really think I would suffer from seasonal affective disorder if I lived somewhere that had a real winter. I get depressed when it’s rainy and gloomy!

SAD can be very debilitating. I do not suffer from this diagnosis,but have cared for people who are suffering from this ailment while working in the hospital. I have also heard that phototherapy could also help with symptoms.

I’m pretty sure that I’ve suffered from this many years. The sunlight is so important for us to keep up our moods and get Vitamins!

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