Defined: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

By The BroglieBox Team
5 min read

Seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression also known as SAD, seasonal depression or winter depression. People with SAD experience mood changes and symptoms similar to depression. The symptoms usually occur during the fall and winter months when there is less sunlight and usually improve with the arrival of spring. However, even though it is much less common, some people experience SAD in the summer.

SAD is not “the winter blues.” It is linked to a biochemical imbalance in the brain prompted by shorter daylight hours and less sunlight in winter. As seasons change, people experience a shift in their biological internal clock or circadian rhythm that can cause them to be out of step with their daily schedule. SAD is more common in people living far from the equator where there are fewer daylight hours in the winter.

Common symptoms of SAD include, but are not limited to:
– Fatigue, even with too much sleep
– Weight gain associated with overeating and carbohydrate cravings
– Feeling of sadness or a depressed mood
– Notable loss of interest and pleasure in activities once enjoyed
– Loss of energy despite increased sleep hours
– Restless activities such as hand-wringing or pacing
– Slowed movements and speech
– Feeling worthless or guilty
– Trouble concentrating or making decisions
– Thoughts of death or suicide or attempts of suicide

SAD can be effectively treated in a number of ways, including:
– Light therapy
– Antidepressant medications, such as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor SSRI)
Talk therapy (particularly cognitive behavior therapy)

SAD can be misdiagnosed as hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, infectious mononucleosis, and other viral infections, so proper evaluation is key.

BroglieBox, LLC is not a licensed therapy service. BroglieBox, LLC is not intended to replace professional treatment. 

At this time, we can recommend the below resources: 
Talk Space or Better Help (Online/Virtual Therapy)
The Buddy Project (For loneliness and peer support)
Crisis Text Line (For Depression and Self Harm)
Suicide Prevention Hotline (For Self Harm and Suicide Prevention)

Light Therapy (Mayo Clinic)

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