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Seasonal Affective Disorder

The seasonal affective disorder is one of depression which is also known as SAD, winter depression, or seasonal depression. This is a depression that has been identified in the diagnostic of mental disorders (DSM-5) as a major depressive Disorder with a Seasonal Pattern. Patients with this disorder usually experience symptoms that are similar to depression as well as mood changes (Young & Yap, 2009). The symptoms would be identified mostly during the winter and fall months when there is less sunlight and when the spring season starts the condition will improve. The recorded months where the patient with this condition suffers most in the United States is the month of January and February. They are also the moths that report the highest cases of this condition.

The SAD is more than just winter blues. The symptoms of this condition may be overwhelming and distressing and it may affect the daily functioning of the patient (Rohan & Rough, 2016). The data indicates that 5% of the American population suffers from this condition and the condition is more common in women than men (Götz, 2020). The seasonal affective decoder has been associated with a biochemical imbalance in the brain which is promoted by less sunlight and shorter daylight in winter. As the season changes human being experiences a shift in their circadian rhythm or biological internal clock which may result in them being out of step with their daily activities (Partonen & Pandi-Perumal, 2010). The condition is more common with those who live far from the equator since there are fewer daylight hours during winter.

Some of the most common symptoms with this condition are fatigue and oversleeping weight gain which is associated with overeating, and sugars cravings. The symptoms may vary from mild to severe and it may include depression-like symptoms. Other symptoms include having a depressive mood, loss of interest in what one loves doing, loss of energy, increased in purposeless physical activities, feeling worthless, among others (Götz, 2020). This condition may affect persons of any age but it is more common in persons between the ages of 18 to 30 years. This condition may be treated in different ways. Among them is light therapy, talk therapy, antidepressant medication, or a combination of these. However, the condition will improve as seasons change.


Götz, J. (2020). Seasonal affective disorder and light therapy: Using human-centered design to treat winter depression.

Partonen, T., & Pandi-Perumal, S. R. (2010). Seasonal affective disorder: Practice and research. Oxford University Press.

Rohan, K., & Rough, J. N. (2016). Seasonal affective disorder. Oxford Handbooks Online.

Young, M. A., & Yap, B. J. (2009). Psychological and biological traits in seasonal affective disorder and seasonality. Seasonal Affective Disorder, 189-208.

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