What Is SAD? (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

sad lights

Sometimes, the weather outside is frightful but our lives are not so delightful.  During the winter months, we become susceptible to low moods and depressive modes that are easy to fall into, and very difficult to climb out of.  If you are feeling these symptoms often during the fall and winter months, you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder is characterized by several symptoms.  Some of the more common symptoms include a significant lack in energy, feeling lethargic or constantly needing sleep.  Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is also characterized by an increase in appetite, followed by weight gain. 

Some symptoms are more mental than physical.  People with SAD can feel intense anxiety, and have increased desires to be alone and withdraw from friends and family.  It can even become difficult to focus on tasks and concentrate.  For women, Premenstrual Syndrome symptoms can increase.  Women, in fact, are much more likely to contract Seasonal Affective Disorder than men.  Around 70 to 80% of those who suffer from SAD are women. 

Geography can also play a factor in contracting this disorder.  People who live in extreme northern areas or extreme southern areas are more likely to contract SAD than others.  Long winters and lack of light can contribute.  Light therapy can be used to help those with SAD cope with the symptoms and achieve a normal lifestyle.