Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that occurs specifically during the late fall and winter months. It affects a wide variety of individuals, but is most likely to be found in females, young people and those with a family history of depression.
Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder are quite similar to those of traditional depression. They can include:
- Feeling of hopelessness or worthlessness
- Low energy
- Weight gain
- Social withdrawl
With SAD, the patient will experience an onset of symptoms starting in late fall, which will persist through winter and eventually go away once spring arrives. To be formally diagnosed, he or she must have followed a pattern of seasonal depression for at least 2 years.
What about Seasonal Affective Disorder in the summer?
While much more rare than its winter counterpart, SAD can affect individuals during the warm-weather months. Symptoms of summer-induced SAD can include loss of appetite, restlessness, anxiety and agitation.
There are several preferred treatments available for those diagnosed with SAD:
Antidepressants such as bupropion and Selective Seratonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are commonly taken by SAD patients.
Specifically used to treat winter SAD, light therapy uses the concept of replacing the diminished sunshine of the fall and winter months by exposing the patient to bright artificial light on a daily basis.
As with general depression, therapy can help individuals suffering with SAD to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
While not widely accepted as a successful treatment method, some SAD patients benefit from vitamin D supplementation.
Join the Fight
Have you been diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder, or do you suspect you have it? Consider joining one of our clinical studies, which test experimental treatment therapies before they become available to the public. Your participation could make all the difference, in your life and the lives of others struggling with this disease.