Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Informational and Treatment Guide

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that is related to and caused by changes in seasons. SAD usually begins and ends around the same time every year. Around 5% of all United States citizens experience Seasonal Affective Disorder, while nearly 10% of Alaskan people experience it. Latitude makes a big difference.

Symptoms & Diagnosis

Since SAD is a subtype of depression, the most common symptom is major depression. Major depression usually kicks in around early fall and winter, and fades during spring and summertime. During these episodes of depression, patients may experience large losses of energy, losing interest in activities they used to like, feeling sluggish or upset, having suicidal thoughts or actions, and experiencing difficulty concentrating.


The exact cause of SAD is unknown, however, some factors that still come into play include things like changes to biological clock, serotonin levels, and melatonin levels. An imbalance of substances like these can cause extreme discomfort.


Luckily, SAD can be treated. Treatments for this disorder include light therapy, psychotherapy, consulting a mental health expert, and antidepressants. These treatments can be used all together or individually.
Shedding Light on Seasonal Affective Disorder