Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs during specific times of the year, usually in the fall and winter months when daylight hours are shorter. The exact cause of SAD is not known, but it is thought to be related to a lack of sunlight, which can disrupt the body's natural sleep-wake cycle and affect levels of hormones such as melatonin and serotonin.

When is it necessary to see a doctor?

If you experience symptoms such as depression, low energy, or changes in appetite or sleep patterns that occur seasonally, especially during the winter months, it's time to see a mental health professional for a SAD evaluation. Treatment for SAD typically involves a combination of light therapy, psychotherapy, and medication. Light therapy involves exposure to bright light for a specified period each day, typically in the morning. Psychotherapy can help individuals develop coping skills and manage negative thoughts and behaviors associated with SAD. Medications, such as antidepressants, may also be prescribed to help manage symptoms.

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