Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. SAD is sometimes known as “winter depression” because the symptoms are usually more apparent and more severe during the winter.
Symptoms of SAD
Symptoms of SAD can include:
- a persistent low mood
- a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities
- feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
- feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day
- sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning
- craving carbohydrates and gaining weight
- For some people, these symptoms can be severe and have a significant impact on their day-to-day activities.
Treatments for SAD
A range of treatments are available for SAD. Your GP will recommend the most suitable treatment programme for you.
The main treatments are:
- lifestyle measures – including getting as much natural sunlight as possible, exercising regularly and managing your stress levels
- light therapy – where a special lamp called a light box is used to simulate exposure to sunlight
- talking therapies – such as counselling