Seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression also known as SAD. People with SAD experience mood changes and symptoms similar to depression.
The symptoms usually occur during autumn and winter months when there is less sunlight and usually improve with the arrival of spring. While it is less common, some people experience SAD in summer.
It is more than just the “winter blues.” The symptoms are often overwhelming and can interfere with daily functioning.
SAD has been linked to a biochemical imbalance in the brain and is prompted by shorter daylight hours and less sunlight in winter.
As seasons change, people experience a shift in their “body clocks” that can cause them to be out of step with their daily schedule.
Common symptoms of SAD include fatigue, even with too much sleep, and weight gain associated with overeating and carbohydrate cravings. Symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include many symptoms similar to major depression.
SAD can affect anyone at any age, however is more common in women and young adults aged 18 to 30.
You should consider seeing your GP if you think you might have SAD and you’re struggling to cope. Your GP can carry out an assessment to check on your mental health.
There are also changes you can make to your routine which may help improve symptoms. Try going outside more often, try a few relaxation exercises and talk to someone about how you’re feeling.