What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a medically recognised depression specifier, which is often more commonly referred to as SAD from its initials. It is where a person can suffer from a season depression usually from the two seasons of summer or winter (although there are cases for Spring and Autumn too).

The individual will display normal behaviour throughout in the other three seasons and will only hit a 'major mood depression' when the season comes that causes them to go into depression comes along. For this reason it can be referred to more specifically as 'Summer Blues', 'Winter Blues', 'Spring Blues' and 'Autumn Blues' too.

What Are the Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder?

The symptoms that you will find with most people suffering with SAD syndrome are similar to that of someone who is genuinely suffering from depression.

They are bound to suffer with things such as a lack of energy which has knock on affects such as leading to lack of concentration and having short attention spans. They will suffer with things such as having difficulty to wake up in the mornings via feeling ill or in fact being sick. They tend to go for things in excess as well by overeating (often caused by cravings) or not eating and often oversleeping . 

Emotionally and socially they will feel withdrawn also, not wanting to communicate with other people (e.g. family members and friends) and have feelings of hopelessness.

There have been more specific symptoms related to just those who suffer with Summer and Spring Blues also (which you may also need to look out for with the Autumn and Winter too), but they are usually caused by the individual reacting badly to the heat. Symptoms such as increased sleep, increased weight loss or gain, having suicidal thoughts, slow and sluggish, loss of interest in activities and work and that of an increased sex drive. [649]

If you feel that you are suffering with these symptoms, then it is advisable to go see a doctor and explain your situation.

What Are the Causes of Seasonal Depression Disorder?

The exact causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder aren't quite known however there are several researches that have been conducted that constitute towards particular theories. It has been found that the SAD is usually formed around the adolescent years and it is more prominent in women.

There have been studies conducted into animals and their changes in behaviour when different seasons come about, and for winter for example you can see they are far less active. Suggested arguments is that prehistoric humans also used to act far differently than we do now to the winter, due to the lack of food and other resources available for calorie intake therefore the 'depressive' mood helps in conserving energy. Also theories into regulating reproduction during the winter months. [649]

Hence contributing factors could be where you live, your genes, hormones etc. For a more details it might be a good idea to consult your doctor. 

What are the Treatments for Seasonal Affective Disorder?

There are a range of medical treatments available such as antidepressants, antibiotics, therapy and natural remedies that will help such as the 'Native Remedies SAD soother and Triple complex mood tonic Combo Pack' which will be explained in depth by your doctor if he has prescribed you the diagnosis of SAD. 

There are encouragements to also exercise and be sure to take long walks to reduce the severity of the symptoms at hand and be forced into social situations, even when it involves effort.

If you suffer with Winter Blues, there is also the use of light therapy that works for some patients - your doctor will be in a better situations to talk you through the details. [650]

Where Can You Get Support for SAD Syndrome?

There are a range of organisations and groups that can help offer you advice and support below are just a few:

  • DailyStrength: Seasonal Affective Disorder Support Group
  • MDJunction: Seasonal Affective Disorder Support Group
  • Mental Health Foundation
  • Mind - Understanding Seasonal Affective Disorder
  • SAD Association - Seasonal Affective Disorder
  • Priory Group

There are a range of books out there as well to help you understand and gain more depth about how you can reduce the symptoms of SAD further such as the highly regarded book 'Winter Blues, Revised Eidtion: Everything You Need to Know to Be a Seasonal Affective Disorder'.