by Dr. Aarohi Vachhrajani

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)


  • Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of Depression in which a person's mood changes according to seasonal change.
  • It's  a mood disorder which occurs at same time every year, it generally occurs during winters every year.
  • It begins and ends about the same time every year.

(Source: YouTube

  • It goes up with the dark and falls down during sunlight.
  • It is otherwise known as Mood Disorder, Winter Depression, Winter Blues, Summer Depression, Seasonal Depression or Depressive Disorder with Seasonal Pattern.
  • If the person is suffering from SAD then he/she can show major depressive changes in their mood pattern.
  Causes OF SAD Causes


  • The exact cause of SAD is unknown.
  • It can be caused by disturbance of the biological human cycle which controls hormones and temperature.
  • The person who already has a past history of depression and lives more in the dark has more chances to develop SAD.
  • It occurs during the dark.
  • It starts during late winters and ends when spring starts.
  • Sometimes due to Vitamin D deficiency the person can develop symptoms like SAD.
  • It occurs in fall also.
  • Due to a decrease in the level of neurotransmitter Serotonin and melatonin the person develops the symptoms of depression.
  • If the person has a family history of depression or else he/she has suffered from some psychological conditions has more chances to develop SAD.
  • So all these are the causes of SAD.
  • The signs and symptoms of SAD are generally similar to Depression symptoms.
  • They are following :-
Signs and symptoms


  1. Severe changes in mood
  2. Hopelessness
  3. Loneliness
  4. Social Withdrawal
  5. Loss of Appetite
  6. The person gets easily angry and sad at the same time.
  7. Insomnia
  8. Excessive Sleep or Loss of sleep
  9. Sadness
  10. Unknown fear
  11. Thoughts of suicide and death
  12. Loss of internet
  13. Fatigue
  14. Irritability
  15. Weight gain or excessive weight loss
  16. Feeling guilty or worthless
  17. Lake of concentration
  18. Poor decision making
  19. General body weakness
  20. Dehydration
  21. Excessive Eating
  22. Body Pain
  23. Consuming Drugs Or Alcohol
  24. Avoiding Activities
  25. Being Too much Stressed
  • So all these above mentioned are the signs and symptoms of SAD.
  • If the person can feel these types of symptoms within then he/she has to contact their psychiatrist or psychologist for proper treatment.

(Source: YouTube

  • The Diagnosis can be done by Psychologist or psychiatrist.
  • There are different scales which are used to diagnose SAD.
  • According to some facts and findings women are Four times more prone to SAD than men.
  • The young adults aged between 18 to 30years are more prone to develop SAD.
  • The people who are living near beaches or full sunny areas are less prone to develop SAD as it occurs in the dark.
  • These psychological conditions may occur with Food Disorder, Alcoholism or other mental health diseases.
  • There are 2 particular tests which are done to diagnose SAD.
  • They are:
  1. Seasonal Pattern Assessment Questionnaire (SPAQ)
  1. Global Seasonality Score (GSS)
Treatment Of SAD
  • The person who is suffering from SAD has to consult the doctor and start treatment immediately before the symptoms get worse.
  • It is completely cured if one can take proper treatment.
  • The treatment can be divided into 3 parts.
  • They are following:
  1. Therapies
  2. Medication s
  3. Self Care
  • All these can be done by a psychologist or psychiatrist.
Therapies There are some therapies which used as the treatment of SAD. These therapies includes:
  1. Light Therapy 
light therapy


  • Light therapy is the one of the treatment therapy used in SAD.
  • In this therapy, the patient has to be prone to light boxes.
  • These light boxes contain Vitamin D rays which help to cure depression as it's related to season changes.
  • The patient has to sit in front of a light box for a decided period of time and eyes should be covered as the rays' effects on them.
  • This is not used alone as a treatment therapy but it can be used as a combined therapy.
  2. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Or Talk Therapy 
  • This is another type of therapy and the most important one to treat SAD.
  • It provides long term effects.
  • It helps to reduce anxiety, anger and other depressive symptoms.
  • The duration of the session can be decided according to the patient's condition.
  • It helps people to manage stress, regulate their lifestyle and live happily.
  3. Chronotherapy
  • This therapy is based on neurobiological principles which helps to normalize the hormonal levels and also regularize the biological clock of the person.
  • It's otherwise known as Drug Free Therapy.
  • Medication s gives best results along with therapies.
  • Medications like Antidepressants and Vitamin D tablets can be given to the patient to relieve the symptoms.
  • Sometimes if a patient has sleep deprivation then the doctor can also advise him to take sleeping pills.
  • This medication is helpful in controlling the hormonal level and taking back the person's return to his/her normal life.
medications (Imagesource:- Self Care
  • This is the most important part of treatment for depression.
  • Self care includes:
  1. Regular Exercise
  2. Balanced Diet
  3. Good Exposure To Sunlight andPositive Thinking
  • All these above mentioned can be the part of Self Care.
  • Depression is not that difficult a condition which does not get cured. If it's properly treated it can get 100% cured.
  • So Stop Fearing Of Depression, Fight With It And Get Cured From It.
  • Read more on How to Get Rid of Work Depression?