According to Karen Swartz, here’s how to recognize seasonal affective disorder (SAD):
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is characterized by recurring bouts of major depression that usually coincide with the shorter daylight hours of autumn and winter. Though a person with SAD may have depressive episodes at other times of the year, the number of seasonal episodes significantly outnumbers the non-seasonal ones.
For an episode of major depression to be classified as SAD, there should be at least three episodes of mood disturbance in three separate winter seasons, at least two of which are consecutive. There should be no association between disturbance and situation stresses, such as being unemployed each winter.
A major depression, seasonal or otherwise, is characterized by the following symptoms [my note here: also remember the "atypical" symptoms I listed last week that can occur especially in men]:
• Sad, depressed, or irritable mood
• Changes in appetite or weight
• Sleep problems
• Lack of energy
• Inability to make decisions
• Problems concentrating
• Low self-esteem (feelings of worthlessness or guilt)
• Lack of interest in or enjoyment of activities
• Diminished sex drive
• Bodily aches and pains
• Memory loss
• Suicidal thoughts