Seasonal Affective Disorder: How Do You Know You Have It?

Are you sad? Or rather, are you coming down with SAD? It’s not the emotion being referred to but a disorder that comes with the seasons – the ones that involve less sunlight, to be specific.


Seasonal affective disorder, also called “winter blues,” is real and has been defined in the psychological diagnostic handbook as one kind of major depression disorder. The good news is that it can lift as the seasons change. The not so good part is that it can recur as the weather turns gloomier.

It’s been said that 1 in 10 people in America is affected by SAD, which affirms its significance in the realm of depression. That considered, perhaps you’re wondering about the signs of SAD and whether it’s affecting you as we speak. Here are the signs that tell you you’re affected by seasonal depression.

You’re Feeling Sad

You’re truly feeling the blues. It’s especially telling if some of the activities or things you like no longer give you joy or doesn’t perk you up anymore. In fact, you may even lose interest in the usual things you do and stop doing them.

It’s likely that you find it hard to concentrate in general and even thinking is rather more challenging than usual. You also find yourself welcoming thoughts of suicide or death more often.

Your Body Shows It

You feel lethargic, like you’re tired all the time. Your energy levels tend to be low, to, encouraging the need to go into hibernation. As such, you tend to oversleep and get that heavy sensation in your legs and arms.

You may also lose weight as your appetite changes, which is the case when you get the blues during the summer and spring. Or you can gain extra pounds during the fall and winter, when you’re likely to develop a craving for high-carbohydrate food.

Others May Notice It

You are more sensitive than usual and react easily to rejection, and it’s possible that some may have already commented on this change in you. You may also be irritable and anxious or agitated, which may affect your relationships. It may be that, with this condition, you may have difficulty getting along with others. In the case of spring and summer seasonal depression, you may experience insomnia.

How to Deal


Although SAD can occur in the summer and spring, more cases involve the winter blues. Health professionals recommend more exposure to natural light to help pull yourself from this psychological doldrum. A good diet and sufficient exercise will also help you beat the effects of SAD as the latter helps boost your heart rate. You can go out for a walk during lunch break if you work in an office, for example.

Also, getting yourself checked by a doctor or mental health professional can be helpful, especially if you’re increasingly obsessed about suicide or when SAD is affecting your productivity and engaging in addictive behavior, like drinking too much alcohol, to cope with the condition. You may be prescribed antidepressants or receive behavioral therapy treatment. Light therapy is also an option that may be offered to you, as well.

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