Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can affect people in different ways. If you’re showing even just a few of the symptoms we’ll look at below on a regular basis, it can be enough for our doctors to identify that SAD is the cause.
SAD symptoms are usually most severe during the winter months, beginning in autumn (around September/November time) and easing off during spring (around March/April/May), every year. It is a type of depression and can impact certain people more severely than others.
Usually, but not always, SAD starts in young adults and it is more common in women. There could also be links to family history and there are a greater number of cases in people who have another form of depression or a bipolar disorder.
In some people, their seasonal affective disorder is not constant during the winter. You may have periods where you feel happy, followed by periods when you feel down.
In rare cases, people can have reverse SAD, where they feel depressed during the spring and summer, rather than winter. As well as the symptoms we have mentioned, they may also have trouble sleeping or a poor appetite, leading to weight loss.
As the symptoms are very similar to other conditions, such as depression, it may take months, or even years to get a SAD diagnosis, as the doctor may need to monitor you over a period of time to see if your symptoms appear in a regular, seasonal pattern.
SAD symptoms in adults
SAD symptoms are similar to those of depression, including:
- Having a low mood, most of the day, almost every day during winter
- Being irritable or agitated
- Having low energy levels
- Feeling tearful
- Finding it hard to get up in the morning, or sleeping for longer
- Being more stressed or anxious than normal
- Experiencing a loss of interest in daily activities
- Feelings of worthlessness or despair
- Having low self-esteem
- Finding it hard to concentrate
- Being less sociable with friends and family
- Having a low sex drive
- Eating more, particularly carbohydrates
- Feeling suicidal
Feeling low from time to time is normal, but if you are experiencing some, or all of the symptoms mentioned above, and you are finding it difficult to manage, it is a good idea to speak to a doctor for more advice and help.
How can Push Doctor help?
If you think that you have SAD and you are struggling to cope with it, our caring doctors can listen to your symptoms and offer advice and treatment options that may help.
They are available every day of the year. You can speak to them from home, where you feel comfortable, over a secure video connection.
- MIND, Understanding Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), 2016.
- Family Doctor.org, Seasonal Affective Disorder, 21/06/2017.
- Lewis, J. Psychology Today, Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder: SAD in the Summer, 01/15/2015.
- American Family Physician, Seasonal Affective Disorder, 01/03/2000.