Seasonal Affective Disorder: Fact or Fiction

SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, is most common during this time of year. See the below Facts or Fictions about this oft-talked about, but commonly misunderstood disorder:

SAD is merely “seasonal blues” and therefore everybody goes through it. Most people do experience a change in mood with the turning of the seasons, but SAD is actually a specific type of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). To be diagnosed with SAD, one must display symptoms of MDD that coincide with specific seasonal changes for at least two years. Signs and symptoms of SAD may include:

  • Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having low energy
  • Having problems with sleeping
  • Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
  • Feeling sluggish or agitated
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
  • Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide


SAD occurs only in the winter and fall. While SAD does typically occur in winter and fall, there is also spring and summer SAD, which is usually characterized by trouble sleeping, poor appetite, weight loss, agitation and anxiety. FICTION.

SAD affects women more than men. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 60-90% of people with SAD are women. FACT.

It is thought that SAD is triggered by changes in temperature. Actually, SAD is thought to be triggered by a chance in sunlight, which is why Light Therapy is one of the four major recommended treatments, along with Psychotherapy, Medication, and Vitamin D. FICTION.

 The farther you are from the equator, the more susceptible you are to SAD. According to NIMH, 1% of those who live in Florida and 9% of those who live in New England or Alaska suffer from SAD. FACT.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of SAD, consider getting a consultation from a therapist or doctor. Remember, the four recommended treatments include: Light Therapy, Medication, Vitamin D, and Psychotherapy.



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