What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder or SAD is a major form of depression that occurs at the same time each year with the changing of the seasons. It effects 4 to 6 percent of the general population. Of those that experience the symptoms of SAD, women outnumber men four to one with the disorder usually beginning in the person's early twenties. The risk of developing SAD typically decreases as a person ages.

People who suffer from seasonal affective disorder normally have many of the common symptoms associated with depression such as anxiety, apathy, sadness, lost interest in daily activities, agitation, societal withdrawl, and trouble concentrating. Symtoms most common to SAD include:

  • Irritability
  • Feelings of rejection
  • Increased sleep
  • Increased appetite and carbohydrate cravings
  • Weight gain