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Seasonal Affective Disorder

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression that occurs in relation to the seasons, most commonly beginning in winter.

Seasonal affective disorder might first appear in adolescence or early adulthood. Seasonal affective disorder is more severe than the "winter blahs" or "cabin fever".

Seasonal Affective Disorder is also called SAD.

What Causes Seasonal Affective Disorder?  

The exact cause of seasonal affective disorder is not unknown. However, researchers believe that seasonal affective disorder is related to numerous factors such as body temperature, hormone regulation, and ambient light.

Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder

The most common symptoms of seasonal affective disorder are:

  • Depression that begins in the fall or winter
  • Lack of energy
  • Decreased interest in work or significant activities
  • Increased appetite with weight gain
  • Carbohydrate cravings
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Social withdrawal
  • Afternoon slumps with decreased energy and concentration

Can Seasonal Affective Disorder be Treated?   

Yes. Antidepressant medications, light therapy and talk therapy are the most common treatments for seasonal affective disorder. Light therapy involves using a special lamp to mimic the spectrum of light from the sun.

Sometimes the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder will go away when the seasons change.

Complications of Seasonal Affective Disorder

In some cases, seasonal affective disorder may progress into major depression.


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