Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder, more commonly known as SAD, is a type of depression related to the changing of seasons. If you’re one of the estimated 10 million Americans with SAD, you may experience symptoms starting in the fall, continuing into the winter months. In some cases, SAD can cause depression in the spring or early summer.
Typically, symptoms of SAD start out mild and can become more severe as the season progresses. Signs and symptoms of SAD can include:
- Feeling depressed most of the day – daily
- Losing interested in activities you once enjoyed
- Having low energy
- Having problems sleeping
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Feeling sluggish or agitated
- Having issues concentrating
- Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
- Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide
If you experience winter-onset SAD, you may also experience oversleeping, craving foods higher in carbohydrates, weight gain and tiredness. Symptoms specific to spring/summer-onset SAD include insomnia, poor appetite, weight loss and agitation or anxiety.
While it’s normal to have a day here and there when you feel down, it’s important to see your doctor if you feel this way for days at a time and you can’t get motivated to do activities you normally enjoy.
If you’re in need of a family medicine provider, please visit our Find A Doctor page.