What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Our long winter months can take a toll on our wellbeing. We all know about the spread of the flu and the common cold. We’ve also experienced how hard it can be to keep extra pounds off during the holiday season, but did you know that the winter season can lead to depression?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is “a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer.”

Symptoms of SAD during winter include:

  • Having low energy
  • Hypersomnia
  • Overeating
  • Weight gain
  • Cravings for carbohydrates
  • Social withdrawal (wanting to “hibernate”)

There are four major types of treatment for SAD, which may be used alone or in combination:

  • Medication
  • Light therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Vitamin D

For more information on SAD, such as risk factors and more details on the treatments and therapies, visit the NIMH website.

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