During the winter months, about 15% of Americans suffer from a mood disorder known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD symptoms are similar to those of depression—feelings of sadness, low energy, sleep problems, irritability, unexplained weight loss or weight gain, anxiety, social isolation and, in severe cases, suicidal thoughts. The difference between general depression and SAD is that sufferers generally gain weight and only experience depression symptoms during a specific and recurring time of the year.
Seasonal depression impacts significantly more women than men. Among people with SAD, 60 to 90% are women, and females between the ages of 15 and 55 are at highest risk.
In my clinical experience, most people with this problem wait too long before seeking help. If you have many of the symptoms above, or if you think you might have SAD, I encourage you to get a medical or mental health evaluation. If you are suffering from SAD there are treatments that can help you feel better.
Tips for managing seasonal depression:
If you get the winter blues, what works to lighten your spirits? Share your strategies here.
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