How Is SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) Diagnosed?


sad lights

How do you know if you have Seasonal Affective Disorder?  It’s cold, you feel tired, and you feel irritable, so you must have SAD right?  Be careful, diagnosing SAD may not be that easy. 

Sure, SAD carries symptoms of lethargy, lack of energy and increased need for sleep.  You feel increased desires for carbohydrates and an increased appetite in general.  You want to sleep all the time and you even want to avoid people and be alone.  You feel depressed and sad all throughout the gloomy winter.  There’s a whole host of symptoms associated with Seasonal Affective Disorder and many of these symptoms signal SAD.  There are, in addition, a few scientific reasons and causes for SAD. 

Lack of light triggers SAD.  Light is necessary for the body to function.  Light helps us move along and provides energy and other vital necessities.  Light also aids in the production of Melatonin.  Melatonin is a hormone that works with light.  When it becomes dark, Melatonin works on the body to tell it to sleep.  Melatonin is even involved with the immune system, stress response and the body’s temperatures.  When SAD kicks in, Melatonin doesn’t work as well and many of the body’s normal functions perform at a much slower rate.  Doctors can check levels of Melatonin to determine if someone has SAD.  Also, low levels of the neurotransmitter, serotonin, indicate SAD.