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6133 Rockside Road | Rockside Square Building II | Independence, OH 44131

216-520-5969

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SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER (SAD)

Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that is correlated with the seasons of the year.  Also referred to as “winter blues”, most individuals with SAD exhibit symptoms during fall and winter. Although rate, it can occur during  late spring and summer.   SAD is most common in young adult women,and is thought to affect as many as 6 of every 100 people.  About ten percent of the general population experience mild, seasonal mood swings which do not seem to meet the criteria for SAD.  Roughly 10-20% of the general population experience mild seasonal mood changes, but these symptoms do not affect the sufferers life in the way that SAD does.

The symptoms of SAD tend to recur about the same time every year.  Winter SAD can involve most of the symptoms of Major Depression, sleeping more than usual, a craving for sugar, starchy foods, or alcohol and related weight gain, interpersonal conflicts and a sense of heaviness in their arms and legs.  Symptoms of SAD in the summer are somewhat different than the winter SAD and often include difficulties sleeping, weight loss and agitation.  Many sufferers show a preference for bright lights and tend to use artificial lighting when natural lighting is not available.

Treatment may include physician reccomendations to spend increased time in the sun, bright light therapy or antidepressants.  Your psychiatrist will be the one to evaluate which type of treatment would be best and pose the least risk for you.  S/he will also want to evaluate whether you are taking medications or dietary supplements that increase your light sensitivity.  If you are, these will impact your reaction to light and the type of treatment which is selected to treat SAD.  Coping skills, such as those taught in brief psychotherapy may also be helpful in treating the associated negative thinking and behavior patterns.
Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that is correlated with the seasons of the year.  Also referred to as “winter blues”, most individuals with SAD exhibit symptoms during fall and winter. Although rate, it can occur during  late spring and summer.   SAD is most common in young adult women,and is thought to affect as many as 6 of every 100 people.  About ten percent of the general population experience mild, seasonal mood swings which do not seem to meet the criteria for SAD.  Roughly 10-20% of the general population experience mild seasonal mood changes, but these symptoms do not affect the sufferers life in the way that SAD does.

The symptoms of SAD tend to recur about the same time every year.  Winter SAD can involve most of the symptoms of Major Depression, sleeping more than usual, a craving for sugar, starchy foods, or alcohol and related weight gain, interpersonal conflicts and a sense of heaviness in their arms and legs.  Symptoms of SAD in the summer are somewhat different than the winter SAD and often include difficulties sleeping, weight loss and agitation.  Many sufferers show a preference for bright lights and tend to use artificial lighting when natural lighting is not available.

Treatment may include physician reccomendations to spend increased time in the sun, bright light therapy or antidepressants.  Your psychiatrist will be the one to evaluate which type of treatment would be best and pose the least risk for you.  S/he will also want to evaluate whether you are taking medications or dietary supplements that increase your light sensitivity.  If you are, these will impact your reaction to light and the type of treatment which is selected to treat SAD.  Coping skills, such as those taught in brief psychotherapy may also be helpful in treating the associated negative thinking and behavior patterns.