Seasonal Affective Disorder can have a wide range of symptoms, so our doctors will need to understand which ones you are displaying and how they are affecting your day-to-day life in order to give you an accurate diagnosis.
Because the symptoms of SAD are very similar to other types of depression, it may take months, or even years to confirm you have the condition, due to the fact it usually only appears at certain times of the year.
By understanding the causes of your symptoms and by asking you the right questions, our doctors will be able to rule out other physical and mental health conditions. This will ensure that you get the right treatment.
How our doctors diagnose SAD
Our doctors will explore the problems and symptoms that you are experiencing in depth. Talking about your mental health isn’t always easy, so they will do everything at your pace and there is no pressure.
They may ask you a number of different questions to assess and uncover the symptoms that you are experiencing. They will cover such areas as:
- Your medical history
- How you are feeling and whether you notice your mood changes in different seasons
- Your sleeping patterns
- Your eating habits
- How long you have noticed the symptoms for
- Your lifestyle and if your symptoms affect day-to-day activities
- Your family medical history, to identify if a parent, brother or sister have or have had depression or SAD
- Experiences in your past, to see if factors, such as trauma in your past, could be causing your low mood.
You may also be referred for blood tests to help rule out other conditions, like Hypothyroidism.
The questions the doctor asks will help them give you a psychological assessment. If the doctor does conclude that the symptoms that you are experiencing are because of SAD, then they will recommend an appropriate treatment.
- NHS, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Diagnosis, 30/07/2018
- E, Roth & Legg, T. Healthline, Seasonal Affective Disorder (Major Depressive Disorder with Seasonal Pattern), 08/11/2017.