Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

Other names: SAD

DEFINITION

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of Depression that's related to changes in seasons. If you're like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.

SYMPTOMS

CAUSES

The specific cause of seasonal affective disorder remains unknown but factors such as biological clock (circadian rhythm), serotonin levels, and melatonin levels may play a role.

RISK FACTORS

Factors that may increase your risk of seasonal affective disorder include being female, younger age group, family history of SAD or other Depression forms, having clinical Depression or Bipolar disorder.

COMPLICATIONS

Untreated SAD can lead to complications like suicidal thoughts or behavior, social withdrawal, school/work problems, and substance abuse.

PREPARING FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT

Before your appointment:

TREATMENTS AND DRUGS

Treatment may include light therapy, medications (antidepressants), and psychotherapy. It's essential to consult a doctor before starting any treatment.

LIFESTYLE AND HOME REMEDIES

Early management of symptoms is crucial. Regular physical activity, stress management techniques, healthy eating habits can help manage SAD symptoms effectively.

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE

Some alternative treatments like supplements (St. John's wort, SAMe), mind-body therapies (acupuncture, yoga) are used to relieve SAD symptoms. Consult your healthcare provider before trying any alternative treatments.

COPING AND SUPPORT

Stick to your treatment plan, take care of yourself by getting enough rest and engaging in physical activity. Socializing and stress management are also important for coping with SAD.


QUESTIONS

  1. What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

SAD is a type of Depression related to seasonal changes.

  1. What are the common symptoms of Major Depression associated with SAD?

Feeling depressed most of the day, hopeless or worthless feelings.

  1. What are some risk factors for developing Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Being female, younger age group, family history of SAD or other Depressive disorders.

  1. What are some complications of untreated SAD?

Suicidal thoughts/behavior, social withdrawal.

  1. What are the primary treatment options for Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Light therapy, medications (antidepressants), psychotherapy.

  1. How can lifestyle changes help in managing SAD symptoms?

Regular physical activity, stress management techniques.

  1. Can alternative medicine be effective in treating SAD?

Some alternative treatments may help; consult a healthcare provider before trying them.

  1. How can one prepare for a doctor's appointment regarding SAD?

Make a list of symptoms and questions for the doctor.

  1. What role does light therapy play in treating Fall-onset SAD?

It mimics natural outdoor light and affects brain chemicals linked to mood.

  1. Why is it essential to stick to the treatment plan for managing SAD?

To effectively manage symptoms and prevent complications.