What is seasonal affective disorder and how is it treated?
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that affects some people during the winter months. SAD usually begins in the fall, lasts through the winter and lifts in the spring. The cause of SAD is unclear. There are several theories about hormone and brain patterns and the amount of sunlight received through the eyes and skin. To date, no theory fully explains SAD. The symptoms of SAD are more specific and somewhat different from other forms of depression. If you have SAD, during the winter months, you may: • Lack interest in socializing or hobbies • an increased appetite • Crave starchy foods (like potatoes or bread) • Oversleep or have trouble getting up in the morning • Feel tired or irritable • Lose interest in sex • Have trouble concentrating • Experience worse premenstrual symptoms (women) Your healthcare provider can diagnose SAD based on a set of standards developed by the American Psychiatric Association. They can determine if you are suffering from depression an