Seasonal Affective Disorder

What is seasonal affective disorder (SAD)?

A Answers (8)

  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) refers to the symptoms of depression that will coincide with fall and winter months. Symptoms will generally get better during the spring and summer. This disorder, as with other forms of depression, will affect women more often than men, first appearing during early adulthood or adolescence. In rare cases, people may experience SAD in the spring and summer, but it will usually be at the same time every year on an individual basis. In people with seasonal affective disorder, symptoms will be more than those of winter blues or cabin fever, but it is important to recognize when it is SAD, as treatment will differ. Seasonal affective disorder will commonly affect one's mood and leave those affected feeling drained of energy.

  • AHealthwise answered

    Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a condition in which a person feels depressed at a certain time each year. Most people experience SAD during the fall and winter months when days are shorter and there is less light.

    The cause of SAD is not clearly known. It may be related to changes in the amount and intensity of sunlight in the different seasons. Seasonal affective disorder is sometimes called "the winter blues."

    Treatment of SAD includes getting more sunlight, for example sitting near a window or going outside for a walk during the day. It may also include light therapy, counseling and medicines.

    This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. To learn more visit

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  • ABryce B. Wylde, Alternative/complementary Medicine, answered
    S.A.D. is an appropriate acronym for Seasonal Affective Disorder. It is a recurrent mood disorder that can take the form of depression in all ages. But the interesting thing is it is limited to the months where sun and light is all but non-existent. Symptoms of S.A.D. include a depressed mood which is typically worse in the evening, usually with certain characteristic features, namely incessant sleeping, extreme lack of energy, depression, and increased appetite, often with carbohydrate craving and weight gain.
  • ARealAge answered

    The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Version 4 (DSM-IV), which is the official guidebook for classification of psychiatric disorders, classifies seasonal affective disorder (SAD) as a mood disorder with a seasonal pattern. People afflicted with SAD may notice that they become depressed in the winter months, usually between September and April, when days are shorter and there are fewer hours of sunlight. It is estimated that roughly 10% of individuals afflicted with mood disorders may suffer from SAD.

  • ASudeepta Varma, MD, Psychiatry, answered
    Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) typically refers to a syndrome of fall and winter depression. It is used to specify a subtype of Major Depressive Disorder or, in patients with Bipolar disorder, to specify a type of Major Depressive Episode that may occur. Patients with Seasonal Affective Disorder show characteristics similar to others with non-seasonal major depression, but in addition, will show characteristics unique to SAD such as the tendency to eat more (particularly sugar/starchy foods), sleep more and gain weight in the winter months.
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  • ADiscovery Health answered
    Mental Health Tips: Seasonal Depression

    Some people experience symptoms of depression only during the winter, which is a sign of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

    The mood disorder has symptoms similar to depression and is typically diagnosed after two consecutive winters.

  • ACeleste Robb-Nicholson, Internal Medicine, answered
    Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a time-limited condition, and there is evidence that it is rooted in imbalances in the system that regulates melatonin and serotonin -- two compounds that transmit impulses in the brain. SAD, which is triggered by increasing darkness during waking hours, occurs primarily in winter months in people in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • ADeborah Serani, PsyD, Psychology, answered
    Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a pattern of significant depressive symptoms that occur and then disappear with the changing of the seasons. SAD is sometimes called winter depression or winter blues. SAD occurs when days get shorter around November and reduce with the onset of Spring. SAD can also have a reverse seasonal pattern where depression occurs in summer months.
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