The Cycling Depression

Seasonal Affective Disorder

By Zena Karam

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression/mental illness that occurs during the same time each year. Whether it be summer or winter. Majority of people with Seasonal Affective Disorder tend to experience depression towards late autumn and winter.

What are the Signs of Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Some signs and symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder in the winter are:

  • lack of energy
  • trouble focusing
  • fatigue
  • big appetite
  • isolating self
  • greater sleeping needs
  • weight gain

Some signs and symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder in the summer are:

  • small appetite
  • lack of sleep
  • weight loss

How does Seasonal Affective Disorder affect someone?

This mental illness affects people because they lose sight of what's important, for example, friendships/relationships with others. They also lose interest in hobbies that once made them excited. In addition, they fall behind in work or school and have a lack of motivation to achieve things.

What are other names for Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Some other names for this type of depression are:

  • SAD is an abbreviation for Seasonal Affective Disorder
  • winter/summer depression

How is SAD diagnosed?

Doctors will ask:

  • Have you been depressed/better around this time for the past two years?
  • Do you experience any of the symptoms in SAD?
  • Do any blood-related family members have/had SAD?

You will also:

  • receive blood tests
  • have mental health assessments done

How is SAD treated?

SAD is treated through:

  • light therapy (glasses that bring more light into the eyes since many people experience SAD because of lack of light)
  • antidepressants
  • physotherapy

An interesting note/fact.

60-90% of the time, women are more likely to experience SAD, especially through ages 15-55.