During the fall and winter, some people feel depressed. This is commonly known as seasonal depression or its clinical name, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
It’s important to identify SAD, because it is a treatable depression, but could be part of a larger issue. SAD is a sub-type of Major Depression.
Symptoms specific to SAD that occurs during the winter months may include:
• Tiredness or low energy
• Problems getting along with other people
• Hypersensitivity to rejection
• Heavy, "leaden" feeling in the arms or legs
• Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
• Weight gain
Are you at risk? Risk Factors of SAD
Being a woman increases your chances of SAD, but symptoms for men are more severe.
Young people have a higher risk of winter SAD, but winter SAD is less likely to occur in older adults.
People with SAD may be more likely to have blood relatives with SAD or another form of depression.
Symptoms of depression may worsen seasonally if you have clinical depression or bipolar disorder
Possibly due to decreased sunlight during winter and longer days in the summer, SAD appears to be more common among people who live far north or south of the equator.
Should I see a Doctor?
Everyone has days when they feel down during the winter, or any other season. But, if you’re feeling down for days at a time and are unmotivated to do activities you usually enjoy, consult with your doctor or therapist.
Other behaviors to look out for include: changes in your sleep patterns and appetite have changed, feelings of hopelessness, the use of alcohol or drugs for comfort.
If you or someone else has recurring thoughts about suicide, call a doctor or suicide hotline immediately.