Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder or SAD, is a type of depression related to changes in the seasons. SAD can appear during late fall or early winter and go away during the sunnier days of spring and summer. Less commonly, people can have the opposite symptomatology, which begin in spring or summer.

Symptoms may start out mild and become more severe as the season progresses. Factors which may come into play include a disruption in an individual’s biological clock, a decrease in serotonin levels, and a change in melatonin levels (which plays a role in sleep patterns/mood). Listed below are symptoms and coping skills for SAD.

  • Symptoms to look for can include:
    • Feeling depressed or low energy most of the day, nearly every day
    • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
    • Sleep problems
    • Changes in appetite or weight
    • Feeling agitated
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Feeling hopeless, worthless, or guilty
    • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Coping skills to try:
    • Opening curtains in the morning to let in sunshine
    • Maintaining a daily routine
    • Exercise
    • Light Therapy – the bright light emitted from the device can help the body feel more awake
    • Healthy diet
    • Getting outside
    • Meditating, practicing relaxation
    • Traveling

If you notice a significant difference in your sleep, appetite, or mood during this time of the year, it may be time to contact your doctor/therapist.

Molly Barrett Written by Molly Barrett on December 10, 2021.

Hooray! You are here! You have taken a courageous first step on the road to healing, whether you are looking for yourself or someone you love. As the counselor, I am here to walk by your side! I strive to create a safe and welcoming space for you as you process and work through past and/or present challenges. We will work as a team to address challenges, set obtainable goals, and to work towards those goals in and outside of our therapy sessions. My diverse therapeutic approach allows me to help clients experiencing a variety of challenges such as anxiety, depression, and sexual assault/abuse.