Seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD, is a term that refers to a type of depression related to seasonal changes. Most people suffering from the disorder start experiencing symptoms in fall and for most of them, the symptoms persist throughout the winter, amelioration usually starting with the onset of spring. Very rarely, the onset of symptoms is linked to the spring and the summer. The exact causes that trigger the symptoms of the disorder are unknown, but most of the seasonal affective disorder light therapy specialists link the affection to the reduced amount of sunlight in fall and winter and to reduced levels of levels of serotonin associated with shorter days. Here are some of the most common symptoms:
- Low energy that sometimes make it difficult for the patient to get out of bed;
- Losing interest in activities that were previously considered exciting and joyful by the SAD sufferer;
- Sleeping problems – SAD sufferers either sleep too much or they suffer from insomnia;
- Changes in appetite and weight changes – SAD sufferers can start either gaining or losing weight;
- Feeling depressed all the time – feelings of hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness and difficulties in focus and concentration are also very common;
- Agitation or sluggishness – both extremes are common.