Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD is a common form of depression with onset during the colder months of the year. This type of depression is known as seasonal because many people are affected negatively by the lack of sunlight during the winter and fall months. Most people experience some kind of mood changes and symptoms tend to be worse during January and February.

SAD can affect as much as 5% of the population and continues to affect them throughout 40% of the year. Symptoms include feeling overwhelmed, sleeping more than usual, and negative impacts on daily life and daily functioning. SAD is a chemical imbalance in the brain that is affected by the lack of sunlight and Vitamin D during the months of the year with shorter hours of daylight. This makes people living farther away from the equator more likely to develop or experience symptoms of SAD.

Other symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder include loss of appetite, fatigue, and an increase in fidgeting or restlessness. This is believed to be from the circadian rhythm in the body being set off by the lack of sunlight. Luckily, SAD is effectively treatable with a number of different strategies. These include light therapy, talk therapy, and the use of antidepressants or a combination of any of these things.

Light therapy involves a light box in which someone with SAD would sit in front of the very bright light for around 20 minutes a day. This is a great way to help people with SAD, normally people diagnosed will feel the effects within two weeks of starting light treatment. Another form of treatment is talk therapy by cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This type of therapy focuses on the relationship between your thoughts and behaviors and how they affect you.

If you or someone you know is showing symptoms of SAD, reach out to us at New Leaf. Call us at (331)- 725-1190 or email us at