The seasonal affective disorder: symptoms and causes

Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that manifests itself in a certain season. Nearly 5% of people in the United States experience SAD every year. SAD most often occurs during the autumn and winter seasons. People who experience SAD during cold seasons usually go into remission when spring comes. And vice versa with the warm seasons. Patients with SAD suffer from depression, which includes a constant feeling of sadness, and loss of interest in things people liked to do.


Why does SAD occur?

Researchers can say what is seasonal affective disorder, but they didn’t find out why some people develop SAD while others are not prone to this disorder. Winter seasonal affective disorder occurs due to the shorter daylight hours and less sunlight which provoke changes in biorhythms – the number of hormones responsible for mood, such as serotonin. Although the majority of people suffer from the autumn and winter SAD, some people feel depressed because of the spring and summer seasons. Summer and spring SAD can be triggered by the same reasons – the changes in hours of sunlight. Because some people feel more comfortable living by the winter schedule.


What are the symptoms of SAD?

You may experience different seasonal affective disorder symptoms. You should contact the specialist if you feel one of the next symptoms:

  1. You experience social problems: irritability, a desire to avoid social situations, and communication with relatives and friends
  2. you feel constant sadness during a certain season
  3. your appetite has changed
  4. you are not interested in activities that you used to like
  5. you feel exhausted even if you had enough sleep
  6. you have difficulties with the concentration
  7. you get ill more frequently

The symptoms can differ depending on the season.

​Fall and winter SADSpring and summer SAD
Changes in appetite, namely the desire to eat morePoor appetite and weight loss
Weight gainAnxiety
Feeling tiredIrritability

How to treat SAD?

Seasonal affective disorder treatment differs due to the patient’s health and can be treated with the help of antidepressants, light therapy, and online counseling. Patients with SAD should lead a healthy lifestyle: eat a balanced diet, maintain a work and rest schedule (in particular, go to bed at the same time, preferably at nine or ten p.m.), give up alcohol and smoking, and exercise regularly.

People who suffer from autumn and winter SAD are usually treated with the help of light therapy which is designed to compensate for the natural lack of light. However, sometimes people don’t need seasonal affective disorder lamp treatment. Online counseling is also a good way to fight SAD.

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