Seasonal Affective Disorder Symptoms | Mental Health Blog
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Seasonal Affective Disorder Symptoms

SAD woman

Seasonal Affective Disorder Symptoms

The end of the year isn’t merry and bright for everyone. For many people, the winter season can be a struggle.

You may be suffering from the letdown of unrealistic holiday expectations that were never met or be struggling with the cold weather and cabin fever. While many people may feel this way, if you believe you just can’t shake the winter blues, you could be showing signs of seasonal affective disorder.

What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that occurs in tandem with a certain time of the year. Typically, most people who experience seasonal affective disorder do so during the transition from the fall to winter and throughout the winter months, but there are instances of this disorder occurring over the summer months as well. A person affected by this will experience a variety of seasonal affective disorder symptoms ranging from mild to severe.

Seasonal affective disorder is more common among women and it is estimated that anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of recurrent depression follows a seasonal pattern and qualifies as SAD.1 Some researchers suggest that SAD is a result of less sunlight in the winter months, but this theory is still being debated and does not explain when it occurs over the summer.

Signs and Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder

As a depression treatment center in Boca, we know that seasonal affective disorder is more concerning than the typical holiday or winter blues. Symptoms of SAD can vary from person to person and can also range from milder to severe.

The most common seasonal affective disorder symptoms to look for include:

  • Frequent low energy and lethargy
  • Feelings of hopelessness or being worthless
  • Social withdrawal
  • Irregular sleep patterns
  • Poor concentration or focus
  • Appetite and weight changes
  • Feeling depressed almost all day every day during the season
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Substance abuse

There are some slight changes in symptoms depending on the time of the year. People experiencing seasonal affective disorder in the winter will often gain weight and oversleep, whereas summer SAD symptoms typically result in insomnia and weight loss.

What to Do About SAD

Seasonal affective disorder is much more serious than the common winter blues. Because it is a form of depression, SAD can interfere with a person’s everyday life and hinder their relationships. If you or a loved one struggles with seasonal affective disorder during the winter month, do something about it.

There are many different therapies and treatments you can try. Common treatments for seasonal affective disorder include medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, light therapy, and formal treatment programs. If you or a loved one has turned to drugs or alcohol to try and cope with your depression, you are only making matters worse. Co-occurring disorder treatment could help you break this addiction while also helping your mental health.

Although only 1.4% of Floridians suffer from seasonal affective disorder compared to those who are farther from the equator like people from New Hampshire at 9.7%2, if you or a loved one struggle with this or another mental health disorder, you should get help. At Banyan Mental Health, we provide mental health care in South Florida for people struggling with various mental health illnesses.

To learn more about our programs, reach out to us today at 888-280-4763.


  1. NCBI - Seasonal Affective Disorder - An Overview and Update

Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.

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