Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

“Do you notice yourself becoming more moody and less willing to go out this time of year? These could be signs of seasonal mood changes or even depression.”

For many people, the fall and winter seasons are times of joy, celebration, and happiness. But for some, even the holidays aren’t enough to pull them out of feelings of sadness, loneliness, and hopelessness.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as seasonal depression, is a condition that is estimated to affect more than 10 million Americans, according to Psychology Today. SAD is more common in women than in men, and although some children and teenagers experience SAD, it usually doesn’t start in people younger than age 20. Some people also suffer from a more common, but less severe condition, called seasonal mood changes—the winter blues.

People with SAD tend to feel more withdrawn, hopeless, sad, or depressed as the seasons change from the fall to winter, bringing colder, shorter days with less sunlight. Other symptoms can include a change in weight, fatigue, and avoidance of social situations. Like other forms of depression, the symptoms of seasonal depression can vary widely, ranging from mild to severe.

The cause for SAD is unknown, however, many doctors believe the amount of sunlight a person gets may be linked to mood changes and depression. Studies have shown that people in colder, more wintery climates like ours may be more likely to develop seasonal depression or the winter blues than people who live in warmer, sunnier climates. That makes it even more important for people in our area to watch out for warning signs.

These could be indicators of SAD:

  • Are you more moody?
  • Are you less willing to go outdoors?
  • Do you have less energy?
  • Are you going weight?
  • Do you have an increase in appetite?
  • Decreased sex drive?
  • Are you constantly tired?

These could all be signs of seasonal mood changes or even depression. The doctors at BMH are here to help and has several professionally trained mental health providers who can aid in diagnosing and treating any mental health issues. (Referrals are not required.)

Richard Brown, DO | Psychiatrist

Sees patients in Blackfoot. (208) 782-2955

Donald Whitley, PhD | Psychologist

Sees patients in Blackfoot. (208) 782-2991 and Pocatello (208) 239-8008

Suzanne Godfrey, LCPC, NCC | Mental Health Counselor

Sees patients in Blackfoot, Idaho Falls, and Pocatello. (208) 785-3800

Jody Bilstrom, MSW, LCSW | Mental Health Counselor

Sees patients in Blackfoot. (208) 782-2444

Our content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

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