Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Recognizing SAD

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


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  • Julie

    I’ve recently read that Vitamin D is good for SAD.

  • cindy

    Sounds like the symptoms of pregnancy….

  • Andrew

    I fixed an inexpensive light three years ago. I went to wal-mart got an under the cabinet light fixture(13″) and a full spectrum flourescent bulb. I truly feel it’s made a difference for me, as one who ghas suffered with SAD for years.

  • Patti

    I get it every year. I already went to the doctor for an antidepressent in the beginning of october. come spring I’m fine

  • JUdy

    I have read that taking Fish Oil can help releave symptoms. Also light therapy (stare at flourescent bulb for 20 minutes first thing in the morning when you wake up. The study said it must be immediately when you first wake up, everyday. the article I read said that a study was done and the light therapy had the same results as taking anti-depressents, with any of the side effects!)

  • tendanir

    Hi, i got interested because there are two important people in my life who according to me are experiencing SAD. Only when i read about the vitamin and the oil i realised one of the two people are taking that almost on their everyday life. This person is important to me and don’t know how i would help even by just understanding that he/she has SAD.How do i start the conversation with him? pls help

  • cameron2761

    Living in Florida, and experiencing intense heat constantly, I find that I annually experience SAD during the late spring and summer months. Anyone else feel the same way?

  • l-carnitine

    Regular exposure to light that is bright, particularly fluorescent light, significantly improves depression in people with seasonal affective disorder that presents during the fall and winter. The light treatment is used daily in the morning and evening for best results.

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