In the deep of winter, when grey skies have kept the sunshine away for weeks at a time, it’s not unusual to feel less than cheerful. However, if you don’t cheer up in a few weeks or you notice that you struggle with the same feelings during the same time each year, you might have a common form of depression. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that occurs for a short period of time, often repeating during the same time each year. It most often takes place during fall and winter and is associated with having less natural sunlight when the seasons change.
SAD can also affect people in the spring and summer, though this is less common and the symptoms are slightly different. Fall and winter seasonal affective disorder symptoms are similar to those of depression and may include hopelessness, anxiety, loss of energy, social withdrawal, oversleeping, and a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. The cause of SAD is unknown, though it’s believed that a combination of factors relating to genetics, age and individual chemical makeup all play roles in the disease. The good news is that it’s very manageable, so if you find yourself with the winter blues and they don’t ease after a few weeks, be sure to talk with your doctor about steps you can take to feel better.