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Seasonal Affective Disorder

(Also Known As: Seasonal Affective, Depression, SAD, Seasonal Mood Disorder)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder is a condition that takes place during similar times each year. Also known as seasonal depression, it usually takes place during the winter when the day becomes shorter. An individual suffering from seasonal affective disorder feels depressed and fatigued during the attack. Come spring when there are longer days again, the person with seasonal affective disorder becomes relieved from their depression, returning to their normal mood and level of energy. 1

Until 1985 when it first appeared in print, seasonal affective disorder was not considered a medical condition. It is based on the belief that the person suffering from seasonal affective disorder tends to have recurring reactions during fall and winter wherein the days are much shorter. While seasonal affective disorder is usually associated during fall and winter, there are individuals who are also affected by the disorder during summer. 2

The most common form of seasonal affective disorder is winter depression because the symptoms during these months tend to be worst. Winter depression usually has its onset from September, and becomes worse from December to February when the days are much shorter. 3

During the day, the energy level of people is high and they are happier. As soon as the sun goes down, they develop a feeling of lethargy and are less sociable. The level of sunlight has an impact on the mood, appetite, energy levels, and sex drive of an individual.

Could You Have Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal Affective Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Adjustment Disorder – psychological response to a known stressor, emotional changes
Anxiety Disorder NOS – pathological fear and anxiety, chronic anxiety, panic disorder, phobias
Bipolar Disorder – psychosis, hallucinations, delusions, suicide, hypomania, hypermania