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How to Tell if You Have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal Affective Disorder

There is no denying that winter weather is here for the season. The temperatures are dropping, the days are becoming shorter and many people are seeing less and less sunlight each day. The holidays are a time of year that brings joy for many people but as the holidays start to wind down, some people might start to feel down and depressed. If the winter months make you feel extremely gloomy, you may be experiencing something known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Seasonal Affective Disorder is defined as a mood disorder that starts in late fall or winter and ends in spring or early summer.1 Unfortunately, up to 20% of people in the United States face the symptoms of this disorder every year.2 It is less common in areas of the country that experience plenty of sunshine year-round and SAD can often affect women more than men. 1

How can you tell if you have SAD? The most common symptoms of the mood disorder have been known to include:

  • a decrease in energy or vigor1
  • trouble concentrating on work, school or relationships1
  • extreme fatigue or exhaustion1
  • an increased appetite that leads to eating more than normal1
  • a desire to be alone1
  • increased desire to sleep1
  • weight-gain1
  • irritability or anger2
  • a decreased interest in sex2
  • an increased interest in carbohydrates2

Did you check off most of the symptoms above? Do you seem to have the same set of symptoms at the same time each year? Do not fret! There are many things you can do to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder. First and foremost, consult with your doctor. He or she will be able to make recommendations to help you to feel happier throughout the season. Here are some of the things that he or she may recommend:

  • In some cases, your doctor may prescribe you traditional antidepressants.1
  • He or she may also suggest that you go outside in the early hours of the morning to start your day out with more sunlight. 1
  • Another option is light therapy, which uses light from a certain kind of light-box to increase the amount of serotonin in your brain. The effects will boost your mood and act as an anti-depressant.1

Eating a well-balanced diet and exercising daily may also help treat and prevent SAD.2

Have you ever experienced extreme winter blues and feel like you might have Seasonal Affective Disorder? Share your story with us in the comments below!

1 – Information from WebMD

2 – Information from

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Lauren Stewart
By: Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a freelancer writer from Michigan. She enjoys writing about beauty, health and fitness! She is passionate about learning new ways to take control of her health and wellness and is a makeup and skincare junkie! You can contact her by emailing