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Are You Feeling the Winter Blues?

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is a type of depression that occurs around the same seasons every year. Symptoms usually start in the winter months but can occur in the spring and summer as well. According to the American Psychiatric Association, around 5 percent of adults in the U.S. experience SAD.


The typical symptoms of SAD include:

  • Feelings of sadness or depressed mood
  • Loss of energy and increased fatigue
  • Having trouble concentrating
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts

Symptoms of winter-onset SAD include:

  • Oversleeping
  • Appetite changes; weight gain
  • Increased irritability
  • Decrease in energy levels

Symptoms of summer-onset SAD include:

  • Poor appetite; weight loss
  • Insomnia
  • Increased anxiety or agitation

Risk factors

There are certain traits that may increase your risk of SAD such as:

  • Being female. SAD is much more common in women than men.
  • Living far away from the equator increases the risk of SAD, because of the sparse sunlight in the winter months.
  • Already having depression or bipolar disorder can be a risk factor as symptoms may worsen with seasons.
  • Having a family history of depression makes one more likely to develop SAD

Treatment for SAD

There four main treatments for SAD, but you should speak with a physician to see which option is best for you.

  1. Antidepressant medication
  2. Light therapy
  3. Psychotherapy or “Talk Therapy”
  4. Vitamin D supplements

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of SAD, consult with a physician. It is important to begin treatment as soon as symptoms are identified. At AFC we are committed serving the needs of our patients, both mentally and physically.  Let out friendly staff assist you with your symptoms by visiting to find a location near you.

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