Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that lasts for a short period of time and is related to the change in weather. It most commonly occurs in the fall to winter seasons, but it can also happen in spring and summer as well. About 5% of Americans are affected by SAD. The majority of people who suffer from SAD are women and the most common age of onset is between 20 and 30 years old.

How do you know if you are suffering from SAD?

  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having low energy
  • Having problems with sleeping (over sleeping or not sleeping enough)
  • Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
  • Feeling sluggish or agitated
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
  • Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide

What are some treatments for SAD?

  • Phototherapy – exposure to day light or artificial light to mimic the sun
  • Medication
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

How can I prevent SAD?

  • Create a routine before the seasonal change and stick to it
  • Increase the amount of light in your home
  • Spend more time outside

When is it appropriate to seek professional help?

  • If symptoms increase
  • If symptoms last longer
  • If multiple days pass with no improvement

Sources: Mayo Clinic, Mental Health America. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only.  For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.