Seasonal Affective Disorder

Changes in the weather and seasons can affect anyone from time to time. Some people notice mood or energy changes, as well as changes in sleeping and eating habits, as the weather gets colder or warmer. However, if these changes persist and affect one’s day-to-day life, it might be a sign of SAD. SAD is a type of depression that has a specific seasonal pattern. Put simply, it begins and ends at around the same times every year. Most commonly it begins in late fall/early winter, yet in some cases it can begin in early spring or summer time.

If you suffer from SAD, you are likely to experience some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Becoming less sociable
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Eating more or less than usual
  • Feeling tearful or sad
  • Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and/or guilt
  • Feeling lethargic during the day
  • Increased levels of anxiety and stress
  • Irritability
  • Loss of libido
  • Loss of pleasure or interest in day-to-day activities
  • Low levels of energy and
  • Low self-esteem
  • Persistent low mood
  • Sleeping more or sleeping less than usual
  • Suicidal ideation

More often, SAD symptoms begin during late fall or early winter. Typically, these symptoms dissipate during the sunnier days of spring and summer. Less commonly, some people experience the opposite pattern, in others words, SAD symptoms begin in spring or summer and dissipate during late fall or early winter. In both cases, SAD symptoms may be initially mild but become more severe as the season progresses.

Specific symptoms of fall and winter SAD may include:

  • Appetite changes, in particular cravings for foods high in carbohydrates
  • Gaining weight
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • low energy and/or tiredness

Specific symptoms of spring and summer SAD may include

  • Feeling agitated
  • Feeing anxious
  • Insomnia
  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss